Formed in spring 2013, Seashaped are Pete Gustard and Alison Riley, a two piece musical project from the UK with origins in Manchester and Rugby, but currently at home in the Peak District. Drawing on a wide range of influences they have independently written, recorded, produced and released their debut album ‘A Pill for Everything’ in March 2014.
According to Seashaped: “The album is a collection of easy going, thoughtful songs, embracing a variety of styles. But, in fairness, is really just a result of the sounds that emerged once the song writing had begun. The ingredients being over-excitement, laid-back obsessiveness, a few shots of magic rum and eating no small amount of wasabi flavored peas during the mixing process.”
Eleven tracks later I perfectly understood the duo’s description of the album, ‘A Pill for Everything’. Since discovering the album about a week ago, I think I’ve listened to it, in its entirety at least 10 times. What has compelled me to keep playing ‘A Pill for Everything’?
At the most basic level, it’s just a darn catchy album. But what makes this more than just a catchy album is that the tunes are layered with rich lyrics and intricate story lines. Seashaped thrive on strong melody, intriguing tales, and Alison Riley’s high end vocals. Their secret weapon is of course the acoustic guitar, a highly useful, extremely practical instrument that is possibly the most underrated instrument in the history of modern pop music!
Seashaped have a talent for writing songs that seem timeworn and thoroughly modern at the same time, as they move from alt-acoustic songs like “Hilary”, “Jack n Jill” and “Life Gets In The Way” to funky sounding electric tunes, as on “Kitchen Party” or “Slipping Down”.
Picking out highlights from this collection of small and large masterworks is difficult, as the songs are so diversified between them, but the title track, ‘A Pill for Everything’ does seem to stick in my mind for days on end, with its multiple echoing choruses, continuously rattling my brain. More importantly, Seashaped have the ability to draw you into their music in a way few bands or artists are able to.
‘A Pill for Everything’ has it all. The songwriting is deeply passionate and poetic, while the instrumental performances and arrangements sweep you away from the opening note of the very first song through some amazing crescendos up until the final fade.
It may sound easy to become one of the ‘unclassifiable’ alt-rock bands, play some non-rock instruments, and have at least one female member, but to ultimately distinguish yourself, it’s the quality of the music that counts the most, and Seashaped deliver an album that is a wonderful and compelling work of storytelling and song-craft.
Yes, you will be glad to own this album!