Where I live, November can be a bit bleak. The vibrant colors of fall fade into muted hues. Lush green grass seems to shrink into unsmiling shades of brown. Every plant bows its head to show respect for the approaching cold. And it seems everything holds its breath for the first snowfall.
That was my field of vision, out my window from my computer screen, as I entered this new psychedelic pop-rock single from UK band The Shop Window. Fittingly and magically entitled The Lay of the Land, the optimistic colors and textures of the song seemed to invite me out of the November bleakness and into a new lay of sonic land.
There’s something stabilizing and steadying about a good old-fashioned rock beat. Starting with a strong rock percussion and the anchoring of a deep, warm bassline, The Shop Window then weaves together layers of vibrant guitar melodies, beckoning us to a sense of hope and, perhaps, relinquishment of disappointment. “All the world has stars above, I won’t fall out with love, it’s the meaning of life. It’s just the lay of land, future’s shaped in our hands, it’s the meaning of life,” the chorus refrains.
The style and genre bait my curiosity. I’m caught in the reverb and rhythms of the guitars. At times they reflect a 60’s nostalgia, then fluidly move into the more psychedelic flavors of the 70’s. A big, catchy chorus beckons of 90’s pop-rock. The lead group vocals, infused with harmonies, add to the dimension and vibrant variety of textures offered by the instrumentation. There’s something for everyone here. It’s warm and reassuring and fascinating, all at the same time. If you’re feeling bleak, there’s something waiting for you from The Shop Window.
The band is comprised of frontmen Carl Mann and Simon ‘Syd’ Oxlee, along with Martin Corder (Bass) and Phil Elphee (Drums). The Shop Window released their debut album The State of Being Human in June 2021.