Comprised of Louie Bash (synthesizers, samplers), David Mikkelson (vocals), Nathan Hope (drums) and Tom Racine (guitar), the Boise, ID-based electro pop quartet Shades derived their band’s name from the concept of synesthesia, the neurological condition in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to involuntary experiences in a second. Those afflicted by the condition often describe experiencing the sensation of color when listening to sound or of experiencing the sensation of color while thinking of numbers, among other things; obviously in the case of the Boise, ID-based quartet, they’re referring to experiencing color while listening to sound, and their live shows employ the use of a uniquely designed light display that flood the stage and audience with colors based on the song performed at the time. The light display is carefully calculated down to each beat and note played.
The quartet’s debut effort, Clear Motions was released in 2012 to critical praise nationally with Paste Magazine listing them as one of their “10 Idaho Bands You Should Listen to Right Now” and another blog comparing their sound favorably to the likes of Animal Collective, Washed Out and Ratatat. And with such attention nationally, the members of Shades spent the next three years writing and recording the material that would wind up becoming their forthcoming sophomore effort, Common Desire. Written over the course of a couple frigid winters and balmy summers, the material is reportedly inspired and draws from the climate it was written in; in fact, Common Desire’s first single “Time Back” consists of icily cascading layers of stabbing synths that evoke sleet and snow, paired with Mikkelson’s dreamily detached vocals. Sonically and thematically, the song channels both the work of Beacon and of newcomer Seoul as “Time Back” as the song revolves around loneliness, regret, the difficulties of connecting to others in a meaningful way,