David Vandervelde – Shadow Slides

written by: September 1, 2014
Album-art-for-Shadow-Slides-by-David-Vandervelde Release Date: September 9, 2014


Chicago-based artist David Vandervelde’s third full-length album Shadow Slides reminisces on classic, psychedelic sounds of the ’70s, but perhaps too much so. Vandervelde creates a 10-track album far too similar to music produced in the ’70s for listeners to distinguish between Vandervelde’s own authentic sound, and sounds he mirroring from old hits. The lack of originality is likely to dupe listeners into believing Shadow Slides is the product of another artist from the past who’s attempting a comeback.

The use of a cassette recorder, rather than a computer, is an indication of the dedication Vandervelde has to his music. To make a slightly complicated explanation a short one, the technique known as “bouncing” was used to layer the vocals, guitar, and percussion heard on Shadow Slides. Each instrument, recorded separately, was recorded entirely in one go. What you hear on the album hasn’t been auto-tuned or adjusted in any regard, showcasing the talent Vandervelde possesses.

Vandervelde’s decision to produce tracks without a computer is admirable, and yet another similarity to music production of the past.

Understanding the manner in which Shadow Slides was produced provides an explanation for the instrument’s presence throughout the album. Since all major components are layered on top of each other, the volume of Vandervelde’s vocals, the guitar, and percussion are equally dominant. Due to that balance, there are times throughout Shadow Slides when guitar and percussion nearly overpower the vocals. While the layering of tracks works a majority of the time, moments where one aspect overwhelms the other can be jarring and distracting for listeners.

Though predominately an album of songs related to love and relationship conflicts, Vandervelde uses his lyrical talents to keep track after track refreshing, despite the common topic.

Though “One More Time” and “More Than God” are obvious songs about the bliss of love, more of Shadow Slides is reserved for the messy, bitter moments experienced toward the end of a relationship. Writing about those not-so-great moments isn’t unusual either, but Vandervelde approaches these occasions through a variety of sounds. He sounds sarcastic and harsh one song, then quickly jumps to a raw, frail sound.

“When You’re Not Around” has more of a taunting reasoning behind why one is better off alone than most breakup songs tend to reflect. Vandervelde sings, “When you’re not around/I have no responsibilities/I do what I want/When you’re not around/I’m gonna get drunk with my friends/Smoke a million cigarettes/… if I only do what I want you will run away.”

The snark of “When You’re Not Around” quickly dissipates to a raw plead in “Soon.” Vandervelde appeals to his ex-wife, whose five-year relationship with Vandervelde was largely influential on Shadow Slides, as he sings, “Soon you may find peace within your heart/Soon joy may come/Rest deep in your heart/Let not the fear consume/Let not desire control/Soon you will find peace with someone else/Soon joy will come/Rest in you.”

Shadow Slides is an engaging album for those who have become fed up with songs littered with auto-tuned and computer generated sounds, yearning for music that’s organic and untouched. Borrowing ideas can yield great results, but taking credit for a sound that’s been around for decades isn’t admirable or creative. Sure, Shadow Slides is a good album, and that’s clear to anyone who listens; however, attempting to make a profit off music that’s being played off as a new, innovative sound is foolish.

Vandervelde put forth so much effort to create an album similar to the music of the past that there’s little originality to be found throughout Shadow Slides. Channeling his own style in his music rather than duplicating other sounds would benefit his progression as an artist.

David Vandervelde – Shadow Slides tracklist:

  1. “Where You Are”
  2. “Strange Goodbyes”
  3. “When You’re Not Around”
  4. “Another Day”
  5. “One More Time”
  6. “No Good”
  7. “Slow Burn”
  8. “Soon”
  9. “More Than God”
  10. “Victory”