Shred Kelly Put Their Own Spin on Banjo-Laden Rock with 'Like a Rising Sun'
Published Jun 18, 2020Shred Kelly's Tim Newton welcomed his daughter into the world and lost his father just over a year before the release of Like a Rising Sun. In contrast with other Shred Kelly albums, Like a Rising Sun is autobiographical and emotionally raw. This one is not simply a collection of songs, but a story.
Newton is no dilletante when it comes to playing the banjo. Previous albums feature his banjo more centrally, while rock influences emerge as a rumble from below. Like a Rising Sun, on the other hand, is a rock album, somewhat reminiscent of the '90s, with banjo as a whisper from the back of the room. More banjo would prevent the occasional feeling that the album is lapsing into late-'90s grunge without grit, but the element of subtlety also provides a multidimensional aspect. The opening riff of the first song, "Rising Sun," strikes a perfect balance between rock and banjo, its chemistry creating something entirely new.
"On the Horizon," a short, slower reprise of "Rising Sun," is placed just before the final, 8-minute-long "Disconnect" and gives the album a story arc. The lyrics of the songs in between speak of love and loss. Even though four of the members of Shred Kelly are originally from Ontario, the fact that they met in a BC ski village, and all enjoy a variety of winter sports, is integral to their energetic sound. Influenced as much by Old Man Luedecke as by Arcade Fire, it is as if Pete Seeger met up with the Smashing Pumpkins for a ski and a jam. The different musical influences collide with intention and precision and avoid hipster cliché.
Rather than simply showcasing musical talent and innovation, Shred Kelly use music to tell a story on Like a Rising Sun. The result has moments of feeling less innovative than what they have already proven capable of, but the innovation here lies not in the music itself but in its message. (DevilDuck)