Review by Shannon Shumaker
It’s impossible not to get lost in Ashley Shadow’s world while listening to her self-titled debut album. With powerful, yet soothing vocals, soft acoustic guitar, and beautiful atmospheric instrumentals, each song lulls you into relaxation within seconds.
Starting things off strong is the first song, “All For You.” A little dark and very soulful, Ashley Shadow wastes no time hooking you with her strong, captivating vocals and hauntingly beautiful instrumentals. While confident, the slight quiver in Shadow’s vocals at times throughout the track shows just the perfect amount of vulnerability and emotion that makes “All For You” such a perfect opener. Changing the mood after slow and emotional opener is “Tonight,” which feels much warmer, though stays sleepy like “All For You.” The change in sound is subtle and totally works, making the album move forward naturally.
The sleepy mood from the first two songs carries on throughout the next few tracks, a strong theme throughout each track, and while it is absolutely stunning, things can get a little sleepy at times, making the songs blend together easily. Vocally, each song is incredible, but there isn’t much diversity to the soft, atmosphere and sometimes haunting sounds. Give the album a few listens, though, and you’ll definitely be able to pick out a few strong moments. “Way It Should,” for instance is strong because of the deeper, full quality of Shadow’s vocals and the strong lyrics, including the line, “You could spend your whole life pretending/And never looking back to what went wrong.”
“Another Day” is another great standout due to the upbeat guitar work and chorus. While it still holds the dreamy, atmospheric quality as the other tracks, “Another Day” also feels a bit brighter. On top of that, the powerful yet vulnerable vocals are at an all time high, much like opening track, “All For You.” The following song, “Laws,” hosts some more distorted guitar work, which is also another nice change of pace.
Bringing the album to a close are the sleepy, “In Shadows” and brighter, “Sun,” and by the time it comes to a close, you’re bound to feel significantly more at ease and relaxed. At the heart of it, Ashley Shadow’s debut full-length is soulful, stunning and heartfelt. While it may feel a little sleepy at times, it never gets old or too repetitive, and if anything, it simply shows promise for the future.
Listen to "All For You"
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