On Shadow, Michigan's Blake Chen mixes musical styles to create a stew of diverse songs. On "Bad Karma," he takes a stab at techno, creating a haunting and catchy vibe, mixed with his own spoken vocals. The music aims more toward rock on "Written in Blood," while the beats get groovier as they mix with acoustic guitar and Chen's confident vocals on "Fresh." Things slow down on the gentle and eccentric "Uncle Robot." Piano is prominent on "Waiting," where he sounds almost like a lounge singer. The simple and echoing acoustic guitar on "Dark Eyes" completes the full circle that Chen's music takes on Shadow. Few artists dare to attempt such a variety of musical styles during a career, let alone on one disc. "Happily Ever After" might be the most powerful song, with its unique combination of keyboards, guitar, and snare drum mixed with Chen's strongest lyrics of the disc. The disc comes to an upbeat ending on the synthesizer-rich "Midnight," complete with drum machines and dance beats. In the end, Shadow seems to be merely the beginning for a musician daring enough to try on a variety of musical hats.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Stephen Cramer