Secret Shine – Beyond Sea And Sky EP

Secret Shine
Beyond Sea And Sky EP

Secret Shine’s music was a staple of the “shoegazer” scene in the U.K. in the early 1990s and, after a long absence, the band members are back and sounding as gorgeous as ever with their heady mix of wall-of-guitars propulsion and ethereal vocals.

Beyond Sea And Sky is their self-released three-song EP that combines the high-altitude dual harmonies of early Lush, the swoon-inducing sonics of My Bloody Valentine, and the ascendant guitar grandeur of Slowdive.

“Lost Memory” starts with a placid, slow-churn of slightly reverberating piano notes and chiming guitars, with Kathryn singing upfront and airy, very much like Emma of Lush, while Jamie comes in a bit later, his vocals just as high-register and dreamy as Kathryn’s. His clearly-enunciated vocals form the main melody and are buoyed even higher by Kathryn’s harmonies in the background. Then the tune takes a turn for the faster, like a record speeding up on the turntable, with guitar-propelled uplift and heavenly harmonies on the chorus bits (and the verses!) and doesn’t let up until the last note.

“Hit The Ground” continues this upward trend with sustained, chiming guitar swirls, more plaintive vocals from Jamie, and Kathryn angelically harmonizing on the verse section. Then the chorus of Jamie’s vocals and Kathryn’s wordless, but bright “ahh-ahh” harmonies kicks in, and with that, a stratospheric pummeling blast of many-layered, fuzzed-out guitar distortion. Melancholy strings are introduced at the three-quarter mark, as the to-the-sky sonics continue unabated, with Jamie sweetly singing “What did you do? You were so high – when you knew that you couldn’t fly?”.

“Beyond Sea And Sky” is a slower-paced song with serene piano notes, airy, but subdued vocals from Jamie, Dean, and Kathryn, and calm, measured drumbeat as a several-stranded guitar-line frisson builds up to a burnished, sustained, blissful grind. Sharply bittersweet violin lines come in mid-way to complete the lush, full sound. The strings are drawn out against the sky-high, multi-layered vocals that eventually fade, leaving only the echoing strings as a ghost of the beauty that came before.