Contradictory to what their name may suggest (not a “swoopy-fringed” metalcore band), Speaking In Shadows are an English rock band formed in 2010 from the town of Nuneaton. Releasing their new EP, ‘Lies We Lead’, Speaking In Shadows have aptly created a mixture of passionate, alternative rock tunes which fringes on the boundaries of post-hardcore. Needless to say it works well.
Kicking off the EP is the track ‘Splinters’, featuring high-powered drumming and jagged guitar lines. It’s a disappointment however, that vocalist Alex Smith’s voice sounds too nasally on this track to be enjoyed wholeheartedly. It’s a shame, as I feel ‘Splinters’ is the only shortcoming of the album. Trying to combine the accessibility of the next track ‘Technicolour Trainwreck’, while trying to capture the chaos of later tracks like ‘Breaking Silence’, ‘Splinters’ does nothing more than fall flat on its face.
Nevertheless, their lyrics are well crafted, in which the band not only questions, but challenges the emotional turmoil which is discussed on the record. Opening with a moody guitar riff, the song ‘Breaking Silence’ is abundant with similes and metaphors, (“To rip down every burning star I find, And watch the fear engulf you like a tide”) which skilfully accentuates the misery and angst of the subject matter. Nonetheless, Speaking In Shadows are able to maintain a sense of buoyancy above the emotional depth they delve into, with title track ‘The Lies We Lead’ featuring nothing but heartfelt verses, eccentric choruses and sing-along gang vocals.
Yet, what really makes this band special however, is their diversity. Offering the listener variety, yet remaining utterly focused on their signature sound, Speaking In Shadows manage to mix both melody and madness effortlessly. Song such as ‘Moths’, carried by an acoustic guitar, displays a sense of profound sensitivity, offering the listener raw emotion, which incidentally, is the complete opposite of a song such as ‘Misled Soldiers’. Challenging the point of war, this song radiates an ambient feel of dread and despair, until the turning point in which vocalist Alex Smith unleashes, “And how many more must die!”, eventually followed by a roar of coarse brutality just before the three minute mark. This technique really shows the skill and aptitude of Speaking In Shadows, as they artfully bounce between serenity and aggression.
Despite having an awful name, Speaking In Shadows have created an exciting EP, chock full of angst, aggression and variety. Its a shame that the opening track was so bland, as the EP really picks up as it gets going. Overall, solid EP, would listen again.
‘The Lies We Lead’ by Speaking in Shadows is out now.
Words by Harry Miller (@HarrryMiller)