When an artist has put in the hard work and extreme dedication that it takes into making a name for oneself and been lucky enough to garner a following that allows them to live comfortably, it’s rather easy to become complacent and enjoy the spoils of success and begin churning out the same formula repeatedly. However, this is not the case for Aaron Short, member of the successful band The Naked and Famous, who decided to branch out and explore a different sound altogether. Teaming up with Sam McCarthy and Maddie North to form trio Space Above and deliver debut LP Still.
On Still, Space Above create an atmospheric LP that reaches out to its listeners with entrancing melodies and a rollercoaster of emotions: from tunes you may listen to during a relaxing meditation, to the excitement and activity of a Saturday night rave.
The highlights: on opening track “Hold In”, the trio channel their inner 2000’s Radiohead and take a Zen-like approach to deliver a message on mortality; Short crooning “You’re one step closer to the grave, before the light takes you away” through a soothing tune that depicts the acceptance of this inevitability with open arms. In contrast, Maddie North takes the vocals helm for subsequent single “Let it Still” and guides the listener through a more upbeat sound exploration that welcomes one to close their eyes, nod their head and give in to the beat. Lastly, on single “Fall Through” is where the trio shine brightest by fusing darker and somber elements onto a mid-tempo charged tune that fits North’s mezzo-soprano like a glove.
The drawbacks: track “Growing Pains” slightly leans on the generic side of the genre, while by no means bad, just doesn’t pack the oomph that would aid Still to slam-dunk status. However, the real culprit is closing track “Beneath the Light”. Unfathomably the band rid themselves of the strong vocal work put-forth throughout by Short and North and deliver a 7-minute nonsensical tune that Still would be better off without.
Overall, Still boasts plenty of “high-end Space-Tech” (a moniker borrowed from the band’s own description). With a strong debut LP under their belt, this New Zealand outfit is bound to carve out a name for themselves sooner rather than later. Be on the lookout for what’s to come from this promising triumvirate.