PLAYING DETROIT: Shady Groves

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Shady Groves, a collective of singer songwriters/multi instrumentalists, is Detroit‘s newest indie pop formation. Having released their first single (ever!) earlier this week, “Plain Dreams” is an unassumingly sweeping adventure ballad. If it’s any indication to how the rest of the album, Bitzer, will sound (due to release early next year) Shady Groves could fill a long standing void in the Detroit pop patchwork. My first thought was “early Fleet Foxes b-side,” which is in no way a bad thing. I had forgotten that the ambient indie pop rock scene from seven-nine years ago fizzled out quietly and that, well, I sort of miss it. Yes, it’s easily digestible and is in no way a challenging listen. It evokes sensations of the climax scene in any Fox Searchlight indie romance film from when I was a teenager; the type of song 18-year-old me would want a boy to run across the airport to stop me from boarding a plane to. “Plain Dreams” oozes the lush harmonies and textural atmospheric tendancies of the aforementioned Fleet Foxes, and though not as elevated, sometimes reflective of Band of Horses’ Ben Bidwell’s vocals if they fused with Dan Auerbach’s solo work. The cadence in which the lyrics are presented is soft, but thoughtfully arranged in a way that gives the aural illusion of travel, which makes the track feel fully realized. It sounds strange to say that Shady Groves seems like a resurgence of a genre that has inherently had very little presence here in Detroit, but that is why something like “Plain Dreams” with its aptly titled plainness, feels new.

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