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Review: school shoes – demos

Amidst all the myriad local acts that have come to categorize Lowell’s music scene, bubbling just under the surface is a formidable collection of spacey, atmospheric post-rock artists. The success of acts like Circus Trees, Glacier, and Pray For Sound, all of whom have origins in Lowell speaks to this slow-burning scene, frequently overshadowed among the droves of punk and indie bands occupying the Mill City. The trio school shoes however are a different beast entirely; the Tewksbury-based act has a tendency to dance between both worlds, producing a blend of lush dream pop with the energy of classic 00s indie rock, and subtle grace and atmospherics of post-rock. All with inflections of surf guitar, minimalist drum beats, and an unhealthy dosage of youthful ennui.

Their debut EP demos was released earlier this year to little fanfare, and very nearly went unnoticed by the New England scene writ large. This is a pity, because it’s a remarkably strong way for school shoes to introduce themselves. Despite the scrappy basement tapes-esque recordings, school shoes present the listener with five radio-ready tracks of dreary-yet-shimmering dream pop with subtle profundity, and undercurrents of palpable sadness. Amidst lead Roy Mallach‘s hazily oceanic guitars, and drummer Anthony Sullivan‘s plodding percussion, singer/songwriter Carissa Myre‘s vocals are frequently obscured amidst a melange of ambient indie melody, and tangible emotion. It’s the kind of music I could see pairing beautifully on a bill with similarly glittering downer rock acts like Lowell’s own oldsoul.

Though featuring the most bare bones and sparse of production values, demos is a potent debut, and I’m genuinely intrigued to see what this Tewksbury trio is capable of with a little more production chops at their beck and call. Perhaps yet another addition to Lowell’s growing pantheon of ethereal post-rock goodness?

For Fans Of: Beach House, Mazzy Star, oldsoul, Lunic
Key Track: “freshman”

– Lilz Martin