Abram Shook has toiled around the streets of Austin for some time trying to find the right band to fit his unique vision of where his songwriting could go. But, after various line-up changes to his former group, Great Nostalgic, it seems Abram made the right decision to try things out all on his own. His album Sun Marquee carries his vision further than we expected, leaving listeners with a warm experience that you’ll find ultimately rewarding.
Those of you getting your first introduction should immediately take notice of Abram’s unique voice when you play “Recovery.” It’s got a bit of a drawl to it, coated here in an effortless cool that evokes the best of warm climes. He uses the strength of his voice as a central focus in his songs, and he builds the tracks from there. The following tune, “In Mind,” has incredible layering with varying guitar parts working in unison, though each occupying their own space and time. It reminds me of the best moments of old Here We Go Magic tunes, though there’s more of a dreamy quality to the numbers on Sun Marquee.
But while much of the record is devoted to songs that carefully unfold as minutes pass, there’s a few tunes that have some immediacy to them that’s gratifying upon the moment you press play. Take the smooth stomp and swagger of “Distance,” which features a melodious chorus that allows Abram Shook to display his knack for catching the ears of even the most casual of passersby. Or you could take the bright ringing of the guitar that starts “Lifeguard” before the rest of the track begins to unfold into a blissful world of purposeful pop music. It even pulls in this great bit during the chorus that illustrates a bit of playfulness, not to mention Shook’s musical range/influences.
Ultimately, you want an album to be about an experience, about a journey you take as a listener, from start to finish. I couldn’t think of a better way to wrap things up for this listen than with “Black Submarine,” taking all the convincing aspects of the record to this point and compiling them into one strong tune. Whether it’s the guitar interplay or the wash of layers or even the distinctive vocals, you’ll find that it’s a perfectly emphatic finishing stroke by a talented artist.
People always reference stepping out of the darkness and into the light, and it seems that Abram Shook‘s own journey to solo artist serves as his own coming party. Sun Marquee shows him stronger and more creative than we’ve heard him to date, providing listeners with an album they can revel in for more than just a few rotations on the turntable.
Download: Abram Shook – Distance [MP3]