The Shore sound like they carry the weight of the world on their shoulders yet are only disinterestedly trying to shrug it off. Take that as a compliment. Theirs is melancholically ambitious pop music, heavily indebted to the moodier side of Brit-pop, bringing to mind bands like the Verve and Ride. The band’s self-titled debut EP is four hummable songs from a quintet that sounds pretty bewildered about what they’re doing but enjoying it all the same. It’s good stuff, if remarkably undistinguished.
With gloriously shimmering moments like “Firefly” and “Hold On,” one can hardly fault these guys for anything except a stunning lack of uniqueness. It’s uplifting, in a tired, resigned way. The music is bombastic and epic, but forcefully so. Still a compliment, guys. The EP’s finest moment is also its least typical one: the country-tinged Brit-pop of closing track “I Found You.” This song offers final revelation and resolution on an EP where the opposite emotions are far more dominating. Lead singer/composer Ben Ashley’s duet with psych-folk artist Miranda Lee Richards on this song is worth the price of admission alone — a wistful and carefree track, demonstrating that beneath The Shore’s impassionate sorrow lays hopefulness and an endearing sense of optimism despite everyday misery.