A Newcastle band that’s mastered a delicious grungey rock sound fuelled by filthy fuzzy riffs and engaging, powerful vocals. We feel like we’ve been here before and we kind of have, as Geordie trio Shallow recently rebranded from our former New Band of the Week, Creature.
The previous band was started by Sam Avery (vocals and guitar) and David ‘Crammond’ Scott (bass), who brought drummer Jamie Oliver into the mix to cook up a sound that they describe as “ever-changing.”
On the name change, Sam told us: “At the time we chose Creature we were very rushed to come up with something quickly and everything was taken. So we kind of just picked something that seemed to suit us that we knew we’d probably have some problems with somewhere down the line.
“Unfortunately, that time came and we thought it best to just make
the change. It was only holding us back and we were investing time
dealing with complications surrounding the name where we could
have been making music instead. We had a few ideas for new
names but we really wanted something to jump out at us. We were
torn between ‘Comedown’ and ‘Shallow,’ but I was listening to My
Bloody Valentine’s Only Shallow at the time.”
The good news is that Shallow continues with the theme of awesome heavy noise rock laden with fuzzy riffs, albeit with a new-found more mellow edge. On the band’s sound, Sam explains: “We use a lot of fuzz and play very loudly. Jamie is a pretty hard-hitting drummer, he couldn’t play softly to save his life, so we just kind of work around that. We all have very different tastes in music that influence the sound in some way but we all love a good catchy melody or an offbeat riff.”
And our first taste of this is debut EP Kill Your Friends, which was released at the end of March.
It opens up with the awesome ’84 – which, *shameless plug*, you can listen to on our latest GigRadio podcast – which opens up with a little guitar lick that drops into a deliciously heavy driving riff over a bouncy riff and pounding drums.
Sam’s big drawn-out vocals take over alongside high-pitched guitars, then drop into the big opening riff again. A second verse gives way to a more laid-back section that gradually builds up to a return of the opening riff under Sam’s big vocals as the song comes to a heavy ending. It’s an excellent introduction to the band and you can check it out in the video below:
Make Me keeps the grungey goodness going with a lively intro, then drops into a more melodic, laid-back verse. It ends on light vocals “Flowers will grow, But I won’t go, Fade away, Fade away” then cries of “Yeah, Yeah” with responses of “Make me” form a more upbeat chorus.
A big fuzzy guitar riff and lively drums open up Right Track, which drops into Sam’s intense vocals “Am I running on the right track and coming through? Are we working on the same shit nothing new?Are we working from the same page, Are we working on the same shit, Am I loosing my direction,” answered by cries of “Yeah, yeah.”
That feeds into a big chorus of high-pitched guitars and lively chords under bg cries of “Real, I only wanted it to feel real.” A second chorus gives way to a winding little guitar lick over driving chords that bring the track to a close. Give it a listen below:
Things get a little lighter with Start Again, which slowly builds up to a powerful, atmospheric chorus, and the excellent Trying, which kicks into booming guitar chords under Sam’s high-pitched, echoey vocals.
And the EP closes with Fear, which opens with guitars and rolling drums, then a little descending riff feeds into light vocals, some guitar noise then a big smash of heavy chords. High vocals are supported by a little bassline and drums, then builds up to a massively catchy chorus of repeats of “I want more, I want your love” over driving guitars and drums, which drops into a quick blast of heavy chords.
A second chorus drops into a little chugging guitar note under whispery vocals with guitar noise and driving drums creeping in. That builds the atmosphere up to a big final chorus then a blast of heavy chords. Check it out below:
Annoyingly, the EP was released just as the world slipped into lockdown mode, which affected a lot of the band’s plans. But then, the positive spin is that we do have the EP to keep us entertained during this period of having nothing else to do but listen to new music.
As Sam tells us: “We released Kill Your Friends on March 28th which was right when everything started going west. We lost our release show and most of our reviews and publicity stuff just never came through, which is
completely understandable with whats going on. So it’s slipped
under the radar a little bit, but it’s slowly gaining some momentum.
As soon as we can get back to doing some gigs I’m sure it’ll find it’s
“If you haven’t heard the EP, we wrote and recorded it when we were still
Creature so it’s probably an odd sounding first release! We had imagined it sitting alongside our older songs for context. It has some more mellow tracks compared to what we’ve done before but we bookended it with heavier songs that are probably more what you’d expect from us.”
The future is definitely bright for Shallow and their debut EP is an absolute banger, showing they’re not only great at big, noisy rock but also fusing it with a more mellow edge. And, as Sam tells us, they’re itching to take it into a live show: “We haven’t actually played live since New Years Eve so we can’t wait to get back out. We want to play as many gigs as possible! Our EP launch was meant to be the first gig of the year and we were also planning a tour that we still really want to do.
As for new music we have a load of new songs which we’ll be recording as soon as we can. Fortunately, before lockdown happened we managed to record demos of about 7 songs which I’ve been working on at home, so
maybe something will come of that.”
And there’s plenty of opportunity to interact with Shallow, as Sam explains: “We have new Spotify and Apple Music pages for Shallow if you want to check out the EP and if anyone’s interested we made a video for ’84 which is up on our YouTube channel. We drove up into Simonside Hills in the middle of the night and set up in the woods while it snowed and rained on us but we had a lot of fun making it! Hopefully we’ll see you all at a gig sometime soon.”