Forming in 2012 all four musicians in Shores attend Purchase College in New York and are studying music, This becomes quite apparent as you listen to their debut EP entitled All The Ways. Between the technically masterful sax and drum work and the deviation from basic verse, chorus structure you can tell these guys have an advanced understanding of music. They wanted to create something that hasn't been done before and while that isn't what you have here it sure is original and a breath of fresh air. Shores does a great job at taking jazz and fitting it into a pop format. It should be noted they aren't the first band to attempt this. In fact, the highly underrated The Legendary Jim Ruiz Group did a masterful job of this on their album Oh Brother Where Art Thou? The EP contains five songs that display the band’s individual talents as well as their ability to come together and create something that is more than the sum of their parts.
The opening track “All The Ways” is one the highlights of the album. One of the first things you notice is how good the sax works with the rest of the instruments. A rather unique instrument amongst a four-piece it brings some nice variety to the music. It should also be noted that the bass work on this track really excels. The vocals are inviting and feel relaxed. They work well with the music and give the song a poppy feel. The track progressively becomes more heavy and ends with you knowing these guys are the real deal. “Hope You Can All Forgive” follows a similar format as the song starts off with fluttering sax, clean guitars and gains more energy as it progresses. The third track “Happy Dad” feels the most open and improvisational. The loose structure gives you a sense of free jazz. “Relaxed Adult Mode” is an upbeat number heavy on horns and is an instrumental that shows these guys flexing their muscles a bit. The last track and possibly the best is “LaGrange” which feels playful and does a great job at combining jazz, rock and pop music. Out of all the songs this one would be most likely to find an audience. I really enjoyed the breakdown of drums and sax. The song ends with energy and left me feeling content.
All The Ways offers a lot for fans that are impressed with technical ability but will also be pleasant to those who have no understanding of it. While the production isn't perfect and the recording doesn't have a professional sheen it does seem to get better with repeated listens. For a first EP this is rather impressive and while they haven't reinvented the wheel it’s definitely worth your time to check out.
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