With many great indie psychedelic bands like King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard or Crumb on the scene, one stands out from the rest in a wondrous way: they’re called the Angel Makers. Fronted by Shauna Kelly, AKA Shoshy on vocals, alongside Rob Davey on guitars, bass, and drum machine, they released an EP in 2019 called Little Deaths. With only five songs, the album carries a great musical impact in a small package. As a kaleidoscopic image of Kelly playing guitar graces the cover, it’s simple yet tells listeners exactly what they’re about to hear.
Despite consisting of just five songs, there is really no need for more, as each one holds a distinct life of its own. What each title shares in common are Davey’s abundant use of jazz-inspired guitar chords paired with Kelly’s ethereal vocals swathed in delay and reverb. Regardless, the effects are never overused and still allow her beautiful voice to shine through. Their music can remind listeners of Sugar Candy Mountain and Ringo Deathstarr with their catchy melodies and dreamy ambiance.
The album starts with “Crush,” which is dominated by heavily layered chords and arpeggios that can hook the listener into a trance. All of the songs are guided by a common theme of romance and longing for love, serving as a great album to play when relaxing with a partner. The standout tracks are “Now and Then” and “Too Late,” with the former being driven by mind-bending jazzy chord progressions and embellishments. The latter is guided by less arpeggios and more powerful jazz chords; the strength and emotion in Davey’s arms as he strums are evident, giving the song a mental impact as well as making it easy to dance to. The drums and bass in each song are quite subtle and sound like they may have been added in electronically. It serves no detriment to the music itself though, as the guitar and vocals are quite memorable anyhow.
Three of the five songs of the album end with a minute-long droning guitar section, which gives them more of an eastern feel. The sections are unexpected and don’t occur in a particular pattern in the arrangement of the tracks, but they are a welcoming addition to the album and give the songs a sense of completion without seeming out of place. They also show off the band’s more experimental sensibilities.
An EP like Little Deaths simply wouldn’t work as a full-length album – the songs carry so much weight by themselves that additional tracks would feel unnecessary. Since Kelly has taken a new direction with a solo career under her nickname Shoshy, there is only optimism as to where her musical trajectory will take her, as evidenced by her work demonstrated thus far.
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