The sun-soaked hills of Southern California have inspired many a studio autéur - from Brian WIlson to Phil Spector to Harry Nilsson, each having paid tribute to California in song & craft. Frank Maston knows a little bit about craft (and Southern Cali to boot), having spent his youth in suburban Los Angeles, absorbing the meticulously crafted discography of Msrs. Spector, Wilson, Bacharach, & Morricone, all the while mentally re-scoring the music to old Prisoner episodes & other filmography from the sixties & seventies. "Shadows" is his first proper offering, having produced two solo cassette EPs since 2011 & coalesces the ideas sketched out in those releases with stunning results.
Imagine if David Lynch had set Twin Peaks in Malibu instead of the Northwest, & you'll start to peek inside the world of Maston. Brass, woodwinds, organs and piano mix with haunting melodies and eerie guitar lines that seem to spring forth from the very fingers of Alessandro Alessandroni himself. There are no artificial sounds on this record, and Maston plays them all himself (save the harp, played by Ana Caravelle), capturing the sounds naturally thru the warm embrace of true analog gear. From the sauntering "Young Hearts", to slinky instrumentals like "King Conrad" & "Strange Rituals", to urgent pop clatter of "Mirror" the album works as a whole because Frank Maston appreciates the historical musical tradition of 1960's Los Angeles and the music succeeds without irony or pastiche. These songs are not reflections, but shadows. The LP edition of "Shadows" is pressed on black vinyl, and includes a download code.
RIYL: Brian Wilson, Harry Nilsson, Animal Collective, Van Dyke Parks, Broadcast