‘Shivelight’ from Mishaped Pearls - a progressive tour-de-force of highly creative and innovative originality(May 11, 2018)
Unique is a much-abused word. Often qualified with ‘totally’ or ‘absolutely’, which in itself is ridiculous because something is unique or it is not. The soundscapes created by that preternaturally 'different' band Mishaped Pearls is unique ... no further qualification required. And their latest album ‘Shivelight’ follows that classification. It’s also a progressive tour-de-force of highly creative and innovative originality. Its predecessor ‘Thamesis’ broke boundaries some never knew existed ... ‘Shivelight’ takes the listener to ethereal, enchanted, atmospheric regions where only Mishaped Pearls set the standards.
The mixture of ancient and modern, bucolic and aesthete, soft reflection and acid sharp observation, forming a web of folk and electronica simply works ... and it works supremely well. The astonishing expanse of eclectic instruments and the results they deliver is overwhelming. The individual songs flow into a coalescence of effect that becomes increasingly enveloping. The opening energy of ‘The Cuckoo’ offset by the haunting tones of ‘Queen May’, the pastoral illustration of ‘Nature Waking’ coupled to the eco-themed ‘Fishes’ and the harsh realities brought out in ‘Jesus’ Crooked Shadow’ and ‘Three Cries’... create an all-encompassing audio experience.
Mishaped Pearls are Manuela Schuette (vocals, backing vocals) Ged Flod (vocals, backing vocals, acoustic/ electric/ tenor/ baritone guitars, saz baglama, mandolin, tenor banjo, charango, bass, piano, hand drums Korg Wave drum, percussion, synth bass) Laurel S. Pardue (violin, viola) Andrew Sleightholme (piano, loops, backing vocals) Calie Hough (congas, djembe, darbuka, cajon, drums, percussion) Massimo Troiani (bass, backing vocals) and Tom Finigan (saz baglama, tenor banjo, guitar, mandolin, backing vocals).
Review: Tim Carroll