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EP Review: Space Songs // Michael Shanks

Fusing elements of psychedelic rock, funk, blues and pop-rock, Michael Shanks is breeding his own brand of, well, I really don’t know how to categorise him. Hailing from Houston, Texas, the US-based singer-songwriter has a reputation for enthusiastic performances, endearing lyricism and moving melodies. The latest addition to Michael’s critically acclaimed discography is the EP Space Songs.

Penned and produced during the 2020 Covid-19 lockdown, Space Songs is a tribute to being removed from the hustle-and-bustle of cities to embrace simplicity and a sense of the surreal. Recorded in Spain at Berklee’s Valencia studio, the three-track EP showcases Michael’s versatility and maturity as an artist. Ranging from the psychedelic ‘Mermaids of Europa’ to the folk-rock ‘Real Enough’, Space Songs shows that Michael Shanks is not to be pigeon-holed.

Leaning toward a Pink Floyd meets The Doors sound, Space Songs opens with the fantastical single ‘Mermaids of Europa’. A synth-laden track, ‘Mermaids of Europa’ creates a swirling and wistful ambience; an ambience that is strengthened by the ethereal nature of Michael’s vocals. In fact, Michael’s dulcet tones are one of the stand-out features of the EP. Rich and warm, but with a hint of whimsical nostalgia.

Moving from the otherworldly first track, ‘Different Planets’ incorporates a more indie-rock vibe with toe-tapping guitar riffs and catchy lyrics. Yet, it is the transition to the final single ‘Real Enough’ that makes Space Songs so infectious. In line with the unique sound of David Bowie, ‘Real Enough’ adds a haunting element to the EP; however, it maintains a sense of warmth and richness at the same time. With his genre-defying release, Michael is making his mark as an original and unique musician.

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