The Shrimps are an acoustic rock duo who fully utilise both the acoustic and rock elements of that label in a way that comes through as very raw, real, energetic and vibrant. Abstracts and Keywords is an eleven track album that showcases their sound in a variety of ways, always with a distinct thread but continuously presenting a new and different side to their songwriting abilities and the concepts that ignite their passion.
Passion is a word that comes to mind consistently when you listen to this album. From the initial, organic energy of the opening piano-led Aim With The Arrow, the duo express poetry and imagery that floats along on top of the instrumentation in a simple yet beautifully genuine and passionate manner. The sound is undoubtedly very raw, and what this gives you is a real sense of now – a feeling that this would be the same if experienced in a live setting, most probably with even more emotional intensity.
As the songs progress the band’s musical influences come through via a number of different rhythms and styles of melody. Make It Better and Life We Live continue the energy and depth of the duo’s songwriting, the essence of their artistry. The latter is a deeply reflective and provocative song that highlights the strength of a single leading voice and connects with its audience in a way that reminds you of your humanity, your mortality even. As you continue to let the collection play out, the variety goes on, yet as stated there is always this thread of consistency. The pairing of the two artists’s vocals has a certain energy and feeling of togetherness that stays with you throughout the project. It makes you feel very involved in the moment, and that’s an incredibly enjoyable effect to get from music.
From Rebels to On The Boat there is an upbeat atmosphere followed by a somewhat melancholy, thoughtful mood. With every step the complex ups and downs of being human are always the driving force behind the project. The latter half of the collection showcases energetic acoustic guitar rhythms, a further touch of piano or instrumentation that brightens up those corners a little further, and much more of these lyrics and this poetic storytelling that soon comes to be known as a distinct trait of band’s sound.
Songs like Wings Of An Angel remind you of the fragility of existence and the value of peace, quiet, calm. Others contrast well and bring that energy back up, but always there are these very uplifting and hopeful vibes embedded within the songwriting. The raw recording style makes it occasionally necessary to listen more than once to truly follow these ideas along, but that’s no problem. In fact, in the way that many great releases from around the world work well as music, as art, the language often comes second to the overall effect, and you can sense the emotional depth of a lot of these songs purely from the performances; that passion in the voices, that realness. Once you do familiarise yourself with the lyrics, the effect is simply amplified. And of course, if you’re fortunate enough to catch the band performing live, the whole thing is likely to take on the absolute peak of artistic experience. The band are doing their own thing, and these songs are undoubtedly from the heart.