Ever mindful of the lineage they have established, Autumn’s Grey Solace stays true to their musical roots while introducing a driving and aggressive intensity to some tracks on Shades Of Grey, their fourth album. The album begins with “Treasure Box,” a lush combination of layered female vocal harmonies and sugar-glazed guitars, slightly evocative of the Cocteau Twins’ Blue Bell Knoll period. It is the second track, “Cold Sea,” which finds this duo venturing into new sonic territories. The vocals are suave and attractive while the guitars are swirly and wet and driving; this track has an intensity not heard before from the band. It’s not quite “rock,” but it could certainly be described as “ethereal rock!” They quickly recede into the melancholy with “Last Tear,” taking shoegazing down into the sub-contra with heavily effected 7-string guitar chords and abysmally deep bass lines. Erin Welton expands her vocal stylings on this track, creating some of her most expressive vocals ever. The middle of the album progresses with beautifully crystalline compositions, including the dreampop title track, “Shades Of Grey.” Near the end of the album, songs like the dreamy “Edge Of The World” and “Still” retain the soft, heavenly qualities that Autumn’s Grey Solace is known for on their previous albums.
Knowing that you need a little bit of light to define the shadows, Shades Of Grey takes the shoegazer genre in new directions and beyond, showing that Autumn’s Grey Solace is evolving, yet retains the characteristics that have made their music popular with fans of the ethereal, shoegazer and dreampop genres. Shades Of Grey is incredible, leaving the listener breathless.