Thee More Shallows
Thee More Shallows is only one of many groups in my collection that I discovered almost completely randomly well after their album had come out. I read a review for their overlooked debut A History Of Sport Fishing on some website before going to their website and downloading three tracks. After replaying them over and over. I went back and ordered a copy of the album, finally hearing the entire thing well over a year after it had come out in the first place. After exchanging a few emails with the main songwriter of the group (Dee Kesler), he allowed me to hear some rough mixes of his forthcoming release and I was excited to hear the finished product.
More Deep Cuts is that follow-up album, and despite being shorter in running length, it's a much more ambitious effort. While still inhabiting the same musical realm, every single track on the album is much more developed and layered, making for a release that provides new things to hear on numerous listens. The disc opens with the short track "Post-Present" and Kesler strums a quiet guitar and sings along with a tinny drum beat before the whole thing swerves and dissolves into a haze of strings and soft feedback tones. "Pre-Present" follows with a dark keyboard bassline and more quiet guitars along with the fragile vocals of Kesler, but changes up about two-thirds of the way through with a burst of horns and strings.
One of the most logical groups to compare the group to is Bedhead or even The New Year, but Thee More Shallows makes use of a much bigger variety of instrumentation. "Freshman Thesis" mixes haunting string instrumentation alongside the more guitar-driven track while "Ave Grave" mixes soft electronics and a backing choir in for devastating effect. Even at under three minutes in length, it's nonetheless one of the best songs on the release and one of the best ever from the group.
"Cloisterphobia" starts out just as the title suggests, building an eerie tension through a good portion of the song before finally releasing during a loud finale and "2am" mixes a growling synth bassline alongside a jangling toy piano melody for something that is both playful and sinister at the same time. With More Deep Cuts, multi-instrumentalist Kesler (along with some help from friends) has created an album full of subtle instrumentation and vocals that breathes with life rather than sounding like being overmassaged in the studio. Fans of the aforementioned Bedhead and The New Year, as well as those who enjoy Yo La Tengo would do good to seek out this release.