Breaking onto the scene in 2008, London’s Shadows Chasing Ghosts made it clear from the very start that they weren’t going to be content with sitting comfortably amongst other acts in the screamo genre.
Debut album ‘The Golden Ratio’ reinforced this, and allowed the band to tour up and down the UK and beyond, taking their energetic live shows as far as Australia.
‘Lessons’ sees Shadows Chasing Ghosts continuing in the same vein. The quintet still have a way with a big chorus, and tracks such as ‘Now or Never’ and single ‘Lose the Attitude’ represent the quality that SCG have been able to maintain. From the very moment ‘Splinter’ gets the album off to a breakneck start; existing fans have the reassurance that there has been no change in musical direction since the last time Trey Tremain and co. hit the studio.
Perhaps this is where the problem with ‘Lessons’ lies. Although this is certainly a well produced, well written collection of songs that the band has every right to be proud of, it is very much a product of a band in familiar territory. Yes, the infectious hooks of ‘The Hunter’ and sheer aggression of the title track are worthy of anyone’s time, but the record seems to peak when the Londoners steer away from their usual sound.
It is telling that ‘The Lighthouse’ is unquestionably one of the highlights, showcasing Tremain’s commendable clean vocals. This track sees the band in full ballad mode for a much needed breather in the context of the rest of the LP. We’re also treated to another toned down track in ‘Again and Again’, which provides another welcome change of pace.
There is nothing wrong with the faster, heavier tracks, but there is a nagging feeling towards the tail end of the record that you’ve heard it all before. A band sticking to their formula is always a double-edged sword, but it’s always nice to see a young act experimenting a little.
‘Lessons’ shows that Shadows Chasing Ghosts are a band that deserves slightly more recognition than they are currently given. They’ve crafted a very decent album, which puts them right up there with the likes of We Are the Ocean and Bury Tomorrow. This record doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it’s an entertaining listen all the same.
Rated 6 out of 10