shining through
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shining through

Encinitas, California, United States | INDIE

Encinitas, California, United States | INDIE
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SHINING THROUGH
White Flag
[Gas Can Music]
Verdict: 9/10

Basically everything Gas Can has ever sent us has been gold. Remember Oliver Trolley and Automatic Static? Fuck yeah. So now we have Shining Through, another excellent band with a release well worth owning. White Flag is a five track EP that molds soaring rock, screamo, and pop into something undeniably fun and memorable. Opening with “Pills In Your Pocket”, Shining Through immediately reels the listener in and gets them hooked right off the bat. This track plays out like a fist throwing anthem, making it an instant favorite (and great first track). It is then followed by “White Flag”, the title track of the EP. It’s not hard to see why the band chose this is the highlight number since it has one of the catchiest choruses on the album. While this one is probably the best, it should be noted that a lot of sections on this EP will get stuck in your head for weeks to come. In fact, I’ve been blasting this EP for several weeks now before finally sitting down to review it. While the first two tracks are definitely awesome, I think I found the third song to be my absolute favorite. “San Diego Summer” is the first song to kind of mellow out (heard during the verses) before jumping back up to a memorable chorus. This track also features a killer bridge fueled by “fuck you” styled lyrics that you won’t soon forget. The final two songs of White Flag are the “weakest”, if you can even use that word when describing any part of this album. Neither of them are very “in your face”, which was a bit of disappointment considering it was that aspect that drew me into the first three songs so easily. Still, they both have great sounds to them that are more cool-and-collective rock mixed with pop (“Circles For Miles” sounds like something Farewell would have written). Five tracks just isn’t enough. A full length is very much desired from Shining Through now. White Flag has WINNER written all over it. – by Nathaniel Lay - lmpmagazine.com, Nathaniel Lay


James Clelland, the mind behind Shining Through and Shapeshifter EP, is an artist wearing a proud, pierced soul. By unhinging his warbling, temperamental cry, these songs about what he thinks about himself and what he thinks other people think about him are delivered with an acute nakedness. Clelland lets loose. Hair down, lyrics disjointed, charging opener "I Owe You That" alternates between the punching chorus line "Do I owe you that / I don't owe you that" (provided by Brian Warren of Weatherbox) and explorations of lost and high thoughts.

This EP is the latest installment in the Shining Through band project Clelland's been tinkering with for years. It follows 2007's Man Vs. Wild seven-track EP, a small gem of Clelland's mental scribblings. But as an even smaller gem, Shapeshifter is only three tracks. Nonetheless, it masters the off-kilter melodies and loose timing of his quirky indie rock "sound". Sprinkling and sharp guitar parts of "Dancin' Round The Devil" or the end of "I Owe You That", for example, are accidentally endearing. It's as though he threw his crunchy guitar notes in the air and kept them exactly where they landed. The combination of this freedom and Clelland's overall unrelenting outpouring is liberating. We see this with the softer tune "You" too, except that the pulsating, questioning progression of melody and gentle female background vocals are timid. This is the sweetened end to little bit of self-reflection.

Trotting gracefully on it's own two left feet, Shapeshifter is as close to a career success as a three-song EP can be; it shows Clelland has grown confident with his musicianship. The question remains whether or not a full-length could now preserve the off-the-cuff energy that makes Shining Through. Until we get that answer, Shapeshifter can only really be an awesome taste. - www.absolutepunk.net, Julia Conny


As San Diego’s Shining Through plays through their newest EP, Man Vs. Wild, singer James Clelland works at first-person accounts of self-doubt and discovery. In one of the best lines of the release, Clelland cries “I'm running forward with an awkward sense of direction / About forty digits separate me from connection” (“The Smoke and the Sounds”). The seven tracks on the EP are loaded with great one-liners, and that’s barely even a scratch on this fiery weed-rock mini-opus.

The rest of the band is squeezing pulp from bold guitars, bulky layers and stocked arrangements. The first four tracks of Man Vs. Wild power through like a wicked strong beast, making the album’s title too fitting. There are stretches when Clelland matches up with the beat so precisely that each line punches up its own poetic justice. This is where Man Vs. Wild is the most excellent, and every song on the EP has passes like this. However, new listeners may find themselves underimpressed with the melody alongside Clelland’s delivery and inflection, even when it grooves into awesome moments like these. His technique takes a bit of juggling to get a steady feel for, and his vibrato goes best with a grain of salt. The production works in the same department; Shining Through is made up of real, organic musicians, and Man Vs. Wild isn't meant to sound over-polished. Part of it's charm is plighted to be rustic and amateur. I have faith that those who are willing to take the time with Shining Through will become entranced. Those that aren't wouldn't have been a good band-fan match anyway.

The last three tracks are slower soul-searchers, and the guitars swell and drone majestically. The beginning of “I’m Okay” - easily my favorite on the EP - is a slow, highly-resonating electric dreamland. Folky acoustic guitar headlines on “So We Say,” and brass instruments liven up the end of the song for a peppy, hopeful conclusion. “Hanging On A” plays a lot like a hidden track, and guitars saunter around background noises like crickets chirping or children playing. The song gets lost in its own galaxy at points, but lines like “It’s not a hawk on a fence that makes you a man, it’s the things you just won’t do but completely understand,” and the group vocals towards the end give the song worth in depth.

If it is a comparison you’re looking for, you won’t have to search far. Shining Through will immediately feel familiar to those that have listened to neighborhood buds Weatherbox, a San Diego Doghouse band that’s been gaining radar space this year. Both Weatherbox singer Brian Warren and Clelland handle self-reflection like a romantic drug, and both bands play raucous indie rock in the line of Criteria, Piebald, and Manchester Orchestra. But this much brain-thinkin’ can’t be too good for the soul (or attention span), which is why Man Vs. Wild’s muscular guitars and arrangements exist to keep the trek exciting.

I tend to relate listening to indie rock with getting stoned too often. I'm sorry for that, but in Man Vs. Wild it's undeniable. Also undeniable is Clelland's way with words, Shining Through's crunchy guitars, and the bigger ideas that exist on Man Vs. Wild. Overall, it's an undeniably honest and bare EP with - and I can't stop emphasizing this - lyrics that win in both symbolism and vocal punch. Beat that Jesse Lacey.
- www.absolutepunk.net, Julia Conny


Shining Through – White Flag
[Gas Can Music]
8.5/10

San Diego based Shining Through are set to release their debut Gas Can Music release, White Flag. The EP starts off strongly with opener “Pills In Your Pocket.” The soaring vocals presented at the opening and throughout the full album are spectacular and are accented well with the regular singing the vocalist uses. While the vocals are the spotlight and cash cow for Shining Through, credit should also go to the instrumentals. Yes, they do not do anything ear catching or out of the ordinary, but that is not what they signed up for. They are there to keep it simple, fun, and danceable. This all leads to five top-notch pop-rock tracks that all have the potential to make the band the next big thing. White Flag will surely propel Shining Through up the ladder towards that goal with each track being more memorable than the last. - www.audiopinions.net


Verdict: 9.5/10

My colleague Nathaniel Lay has already written a glowing review of this fantastic EP, but I want to give you further assurance that this band is sure to be your next obsession. Remember how much you used to like punk-ish pop/rock when it was good? Yeah, aside from IVORYLINE’s latest LP, there hasn’t been much in the way of great catchy, well thought-out music in this genre. Well, rethink that and stop whatever you are doing and give SHINING THROUGH a listen. Every single track on White Flag is full of catchy choruses, above average to interesting musicianship, and quality lyrics (when does that happen in this genre?). This EP does not drop until September 20th, but it will be well worth the wait once you get your “hands” on it. Title track “White Flag” is an obvious standout, as the hook will literally hook you in and have you nodding your head along, the chorus is smart enough lyrically that you won’t be embarrassed to find yourself singing it out loud when it inevitably gets stuck in your head. The next track, “San Diego Summer” sounds like vintage MAYDAY PARADE, in that it’s a slow builder that actually pays off, with a neat little bridge and guitar solo, and the outro features some rather thought provoking lyrics that added a nice touch. Look out for SHINING THROUGH. I can’t say they’ll go places, but they should go places. Save room in your summer playlist for one more gem. – by Nick Senior
- lmpmagazine.com, Nick Senior


Discography

white flag EP - released 9.20.11 on Gas Can Music
c sides EP - Self-released 12.21.10
shapeshifter EP - Self-released 1.10.10
man vs wild EP - Self-released 3.18.09.

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Bio

In its two and 1/2 year existence, shining through has released four EPs, completed two national tours and two west coast tours, shot a music video with director Dan Dobi (Paramore, Death Cab For Cutie), received two extremely positive reviews from Absolutepunk.net, secured features on AOLMusic, Fuse.TV, and MyspaceMusic, and signed a recording contract with Gas Can Music.

On all four EPs, singer James Clelland recorded all the vocals and played all the instruments except for the drums, which were recorded by Mike Dysland. The band is joined live by guitarist Adam Sisco and bassist Nick Lane.

James grew up in San Diego, California and his biggest influences are obvious: Say Anything, Bright Eyes, Brand New, David Bazan. At the moment, James is recording an acoustic EP which will be out Winter 2011. shining through is preparing for regional touring while making plans to record the band's debut album with producer Paul Leavitt.