Shangri-Lass is the solo project of Sister Wives bassist Rose Love and Over & Over is the debut EP. It’s an incredibly self-assured debut that weaves together psychedelic swirls, 60s girl-groups and glam-rock. Even the name Shangri-Lass harks back to 60’s group The Shangri-Las, the pop sensation who gave us ‘Leader Of The Pack’ and one of my favourite tracks ‘Give Him A Great Big Kiss.
I was hooked from the opening bars of the opening track ‘Parallel’ with its swinging syncopated drums stabbing the on and off beats, a plucked guitar riff like fat raindrops falling, organ squalls and an elastic bass line that wraps subterranean roots around everything. The vocals start low and stealthy and when they fly up your heart goes along for the ride.
‘Father’s Daughter’ (see the video below) has plenty of glam-rock swagger with its bouncing drums and doubled-up guitar and bass jumping up and down the frets. ‘Dragonfly’ is slowly pulsating track that feels like it could be a lost French pop classic and features a yearning harpsichord-like riff that repeats throughout the track. ‘The Scandal’ is full of early synth sounds and cassette tape wobble before breaking out into a splashy melancholy rock out.
Over & Over is brimming with confidence and dark joy and, true to its name, I’ve had it on repeat. Love’s voice is strong and true enough to withstand both cavernous reverb and slapback and Leia Graham’s crisp guitar playing (she also co-produced the EP) and the swinging drums of Joe Love (Rose’s brother) bring a real live feel to the record; a brightness and energy that really complements the electronic. I also wanted to make a special mention for the glorious harmonies on the album. They often eschew the primary colours of standard 5ths in favour of unique and intoxicating shades, most notably on ‘Dragonfly’.
Rose Love’s life has included rebelling against hippy parents who became born-again Christians, DJing her own 50s-60s club nights, doing costumes for Black Mirror and the recent hardship of living with the fatigue and pain of CFS/ME and Fibromyalgia* but music has been a hugely positive force in her life. She noticed that playing and writing causes brief moments of respite and she says, “When you lose life as you know it, you find out what’s important to you and what makes you feel good”. Hopefully this EP is just the first of many.
* You can find out more about CFS/ME and Fibromyalgia via the NHS here
Review by Paul F Cook