Virginian foursome go for progressive grandeur on their second offering which reaches out for infinity.
Perhaps, it’s the diversity of their DNA that feeds this ensemble’s music; perhaps, it’s unified vision that they share. Whatever it is, the results of SHUMAUN’s collective effort can’t fail to impress on “One Day Closer To Yesterday” – a follow-up to the American band’s 2015 self-titled debut and a loosely concept work. The record’s strength doesn’t apply to lyrical ideas per se, though, but to the album’s mood and melodies: engaging, if sophisticated and revealing the songs’ many layers to the listener more and more with each new spin.
The exquisite significance of what’s to come manifests itself from the start on the suggestive, spiritual swelling of “Sensus Divinitatis” where shimmer is ornamented with sharp synthetic shuffle and embroidered with delicate piano before Farhad Hossain’s soft vocals fold out an escapism map for the desperate ones, the ones deprived of peace of mind, the ones whose heartbeat and cries lead in “The Writing’s On The Wall” – a neurotic piece of funk pointing to the fragility of our future. “Fear Is” might emboss the overall throb by throwing such a crunch onto balladry and adding a bit of bossa nova, but the rhythm section’s moves compress the sound to let guitars jitter in anxiety, while “Nafsi Ammara” wraps riffs in iron foil and Eastern motifs.
Still, “City Of Gold” stresses this dynamic and emotional contrast with march, breaking the heaviness and bringing on the acoustic translucence of “Central Station” to set a sci-fi filigree in the record’s heart – and to shatter the magic with the frenetic “Prove Yourself” which clings to alternative grind too close and, as a result, feels neither encouraging nor challenging. Fortunately, the catchy pop harmonies that carry the weight for “Go” shape their memorable imperative just right, whereas “Remember Me And I Will Remember You” would run from a shredding desert storm into the great unknown of the title track.
Reasonably theatrical and reflecting of the ensemble’s entire creative palette, the fantastic multi-part epic is worth the price of admission alone: there’s sense of urgency and tentative loss thanks not only to the singer imitating the ticking clock but also to the instrumental interplay – initially relaxed and tense at the same time and shifting gears every now and then once momentum has been gained. The musicians touch on power metal, folk, art-rock and other strands of the band’s style, including echoes of flamenco and specters of Celtic tunes, without ever resorting to kaleidoscopic change of scenery – so that the composition’s bends never break its flow. The same can be said about the album as a whole: closer to yesterday in terms of tradition, SHUMAUN’s sophomore record is a gateway to tomorrow.