The thick, dreamy gauze of shoegaze meets up with the beefy rhythms of modern rock on Via Dove's debut EP. Singer and guitarist Andy Shadburne has an ethereal voice that's both languid and compelling, and most of these six songs cradle his vox in the verses and push it into orbit during the choruses. Opener "Your Blue Eyes" is the most subdued of the bunch, and it's also the most hypnotic: minor-key swirls of guitar chords set the table for echoing guitar leads and reverberating, bell-like keyboards. Shadburne and fellow guitarist Aaron Vaught alternate between soft and gritty tones, creating an interplay that is neither too shapeless nor too overbearing. Drummer Reid Burnett is a powerhouse, turning the coda of "Looking Around" into a flurry of double-time chaos. At times, though, the burbling guitars and tremulous vocals can wear a little thin, even on a brief EP. Luckily, "The Art of Living," the disc's penultimate track, gives some indication that Via Dove is capable of changing the game by creating tension and delivering a satisfying payoff.
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