Strange Shores is the spanking new EP from London quartet Crash Island; a delay-soaked exhibit of gloomy indie and confident yet pensive songwriting that shows tangible desire to ascend from the drudgery of toilet venue circulation. Comprising of three original tracks, a live acoustic version and pair of remixes, Strange Shores is intended as a showcase for several aspects of the band’s potential. Led by the radio-ready ‘Loved Ones’, the three original tracks offer glimmers of brilliance, with the chorus of ‘Loved Ones’ in particular striving for the anthemic.
To its detriment, Strange Shores suffers from an over-saturation of a single track: the aforementioned ‘Loved Ones’ – obviously, the song onto which the band’s hopes are pinned. Certainly, the song exhibits all the signifiers of a truly great indie song – a moody, atmospheric synthesizer intro giving way to a jittery, syncopated guitar meandering towards a chorus that offers distinct sing-along potential. In various guises, the track appears four times throughout the six song EP, including the pair of pretty dreadful remixes which half-heartedly attempt to transform ‘Loved Ones’ into an alternately generic dub-step and drum & bass workout. The results are paltry and haphazard, with the overfamiliarity and over-reliance on the single track on Strange Shores breeding nothing but contempt. ‘Let It Rain’ and ‘Across The Skyline’ are more promising offerings of the Crash Island repertoire, the latter sticking to a familiar structure of brooding intro and a driving, stomping chorus complete with staccato guitar stabs and those once ubiquitous disco drums that characterized late noughties indie rock. ‘Let It Rain’ on the other hand, is a cautiously optimistic indie rocker that sees the band enter a more indie-disco orientated territory; offering perhaps the most “tropical” outing with the lead guitar taking upmost inspiration from the characteristic exponent of Foals and their Afrobeat indebted high-fretboard staccato guitar lines.
As an EP, Strange Shores is undone by the overwhelming emphasis placed on a single track, undermining its impact as a bona fide lead single by reducing its otherwise catchy chorus into a fathomless mush by means of endless reiteration. It bears much similarity to the act of repeating a single word until it is devoid of meaning and becomes little more than a confusing and vague noise – a redundant sound. Heard individually, ‘Loved Ones’ has all the markings of the kind of stonking indie hit that gets Fearne Cotton vigorously salivating and consumed by hyperbole. On the other hand, serving no purpose other than the annoyance of the listener, the remixes demand to be omitted in favour of more engrossing original material.
2.5 out of 5 high fives!