Portland post-punk outfit Shadowhouse has an interesting blend of alt-rock,goth and dark wave. It’s music that’s highly introspective and emotional, icy to the touch, yet not at all afraid of going loud. Their second LP Forsaken Forgotten is full of spine-chilling riffs and glimmering synths, tethered by brooding bass lines and rapturous drums that aren’t afraid to erupt along with its strong vocals.
“Already Know” opens the album with a snowstorm of synths and a gloomy atmosphere to set the tone. A relentless track highlighted by singer Shande McCauley’s belting howls. Oddly enough, even with its roaring volume I can imagine listeners slow-dance to its frostbitten harmonies, laced with grief and despair. It’s a unique quality that pops up in the LP every now and then.
Forsaken Forgotten was reportedly produced under tumultuous circumstances, as the band went through multiple reshuffles and hopped through different studios during its four year creation. This urgency and sense of crisis can definitely be heard in some songs, especially in “Tonight”, which has a now-or-never weight to it as it breezes through its dense sonics in 3 minutes, like a nightmare flashing right before your eyes. “Bleed” comes close in terms of mood, a mix between the lush darkness of goth and the racing pulse of punk. “Nowhere to Run” echoes a similar sentiment, yet in a more immersive way. Feeling like a novel in six minutes where the former tracks were short stories. In this, there’s a feeling of impending doom. “What will you do when the end finally comes? / Will you start a fight or will you run?” Its narrator beckons, asking the listener to choose between further suffering or triumph.
Album closer “The Wind” is my personal highlight. Things calm down a notch for more reflection. The dread has gone but it’s replaced by loneliness. A dark romance with its slow-burning rhythms and endearing melodies. It resolves Shadowhouse’s story in Forsaken Forgotten, and it’s hauntingly beautiful.