Hiding in the shadows of Slovenia, Shadow Universe is a three-piece instrumental band having released their debut EP, The Unspeakable World, in 2017. Their new full length Speaking for Clouds – entirely self-produced – was recorded in spring 2018 in Slovenia, but the field recordings you can hear on the album were captured during the band’s trip to Iceland. Speaking for Clouds picks up where their debut EP had left it, and goes a step further.
The opening melody of Opening Rain sound like it belongs in a deep storytelling moment of a video game. You can almost see the lightness and airiness playing over a touching moment of characters reuniting or a moment of peace after constant battles to survive. Even when the guitars become more prominent and the drums pick up the beat softly, it still retains the same feeling of peacefulness. It leads to an epic sounding flourish to end a great opener.
If the rest of the album is anything like that, we’re looking at a hell of an album here.
Shadow Universe certainly prove to have flair throughout Speaking for Clouds as they showcase a darker and more ominous sound while still heavily leaning on melody to drive their post-rock point home hard.
The peacefulness returns for Waves of Snæfellsbær which (unsurprisingly) has the sound of waves featured heavily. It’s a comforting sound especially as it sits nicely in the background allowing the haunting guitar melodies to do the work of the song. A well put together track eventually breaks into a more dread-inducing sound, a very pleasing turn.
The abject feeling from that bleeds into Heat where Shadow Universe showcase a little more inventiveness with keys at a faster pace. At this stage the more hopeful and sunnier side seems to be a thing of the past but like all good storytellers rays begin to poke through the troubling clouds thanks to the wonderful Endless Clouds before Downward Spiral lays it on thickly with the heaviest rhythms of the album so far although there is more to come.
Had Shadow Universe ended things there it would be considered an excellent album but they don’t. Instead we get a couple of more tracks that take this to another level. Cube of Spheres is glorious in its post-rock atmosphere. The End of Sunsets is wonderfully inspiring and Abandon is hauntingly ethereal ending things in impressive fashion.
Shadow Universe – Speaking for Clouds Full Track Listing:
1. Opening Rain
2. Speaking for Clouds
3. Waves of Snæfellsbær
5. Endless Clouds
6. Downward Spiral
7. Cube of Spheres
8. The End of Sunsets
Shadow Universe - Speaking For Clouds (Self Released)
The Final Score - 9/10