Liverpool four-piece Shards comprise of Alex McKenzie (vocals and guitar), Paddy Gullidge (guitar) Dan Jones (bass) and Cain Garcia (drums). Their recently released single ‘Reflections’ is as perfect a slice of glistening dream pop as you’re likely to hear all year. It’s a genuinely mesmeric tune imbued with a wistful glacial beauty, poignant poetic lyrics illuminated by majestic coruscating guitar flourishes.
Beneath the bruised vulnerability and sense of doomed grandeur that singer Alex McKenzie effortlessly projects there’s also a sense of inner steel. Perhaps the sort of steel that can only be forged in a city like Liverpool. When you catch the band live you’ll soon realise that there’s so much more to their repertoire than the reflective melancholia displayed so beautifully here on ‘Reflections.’ This is very much the tip of their musical iceberg. Shards have a whole clutch of songs every bit as good if not better than this release.
You could, of course, throw about musical points of reference, which is now the established LAW when it comes to music blogging, and so with that in mind you may hear hints of the tremulous emotion displayed byThe Cure’s Robert Smith, the mordant bedsit poetry of The Smiths (obviously before Morrissey went full on “Farage” and decided singing in the style of somebody yodelling with a goose egg in their mouth was good thing). You may also discern hints of classic 4AD bands of yore and whilst there are certainly traces of these artists in Shards oeuvre they are just that, – fragments (shards even ). In all honesty, the artists referenced probably haven’t been a conscious influence on the band’s sound at all. Some musicians just have an innate sense of beauty and melody and can find treasure amongst the trash and detritus of daily life. Shards appear to be one of those rare breed of bands who have that instinctive knack.