The Shore

Light Years

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The Shore enjoyed a rather ill-fated run with Maverick Records, which issued the band's debut album two months after co-founder Madonna left the label, taking much of its credibility and financial stability with her. Singles like "Hard Road" and "Waiting for the Sun" found a brief audience on college radio, but The Shore failed to ignite a spark, and Maverick soon closed down its operations altogether. The group's mix of California psychedelic rock and summery swoon remained intact, however, making 2008's Light Years -- the Shore's first album in four years, not to mention their first as an independent act -- every bit as hazily gorgeous as its predecessor. While 2004's eponymous album was filled with would-be singles, this sophomore effort focuses on mood, nailing the sepia-toned textures of '70s Cali-rock with a mix of knotted guitar arpeggios, sitars, Mellotrons, strings, and leisurely percussion. Ben Ashley's voice could still be mistaken for Richard Ashcroft, and tracks like "When Tomorrow Comes" and "Wandering Light" boast the same symphonic, guitar-drenched landscapes that put Urban Hymns on the map. This is a solid sophomore effort, presumably recorded on a shoestring budget but entirely expansive and engaging nonetheless.

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