Swinging The Pendulum

31 July 2012 | 3:08 pm | Brendan Telford

"People always tell me that we sound like Pavement, and I suppose there is some quirkiness in there that lends itself to that, but I’ve never been aiming for that comparison."

After starting out as a solo project for Jordy Lane, the similarly monikered Shady Lane – fleshed out by Sarah Jullienne and Pete Avard – are two albums in after releasing Built Guilt back in May. The album is awash with bedroom pop, progressive rock breakdowns and the occasional sonic freakout, yet the unfortunate link of the band's name to a famous Pavement track is disparaging and lays them square in the sights of lazy categorisation, as the band's fondness for eschewing pop-rock sensibilities intimates that they have much more to offer.

“People always tell me that we sound like Pavement, and I suppose there is some quirkiness in there that lends itself to that, but I've never been aiming for that comparison,” Lane stresses. “We don't stick to guitar-based songs, and I don't think our songs have the same intended pay-off either. I didn't want to make [Built Guilt] into a pretty album like [debut LP] Here We Go, Down The Black Hole, I wanted to have a challenging album to listen to. There are elements that aren't too pleasant, and that was certainly intentional. Finding the balance between the pretty stuff and the nasty stuff is what I like to do, and I think that definitely sets us apart.”

The subject matter over the majority of Built Guilt delves into the darker realms of the human consciousness, despite the relatively breezy nature of some of the instrumentation. Lane admits that he wasn't in the highest of spirits when it came to putting pen to paper for the new album.

“After I wrote the first album I got into some dark headspaces, which was pretty unhealthy, and writing the whole thing proved to be a huge mental struggle. I felt at times that I didn't enjoy writing whatsoever, and I had to push myself to keep going. I'm really glad with the way things turned out, and that perseverance really brought out some things that I may not have been able to achieve normally. The process left me feeling positive and healthy, and allowed me to see that dark hole for what it was. I don't think I'll be heading back down there any time soon.”

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Built Guilt doesn't suffer from these anguished moments; to the contrary, the album overflows with confidence and zeal. The differences between this and Shady Lane's debut are striking, with Lane's guitar gaining heft and a harder edge, whilst the compositions are more bombastic in nature. Nevertheless, the band's penchant for experimentalism remains, with tracks like the electronic whispers of What Future? and the noisy collage of Mother Mountain Rabbit ensuring the mood and tempo of the album swings like a pendulum. Lane asserts that such proclivity for applying abstract elements to the traditional pop song has always been an inherent drive for him.

“I have this habit of writing a song and then the next song is completely different, which is also completely intentional. Swinging back and forth between totally different ideas is really jarring to listen to, so there is no easy way out when you listen to it. It's not a natural writing process, but challenging myself is really important to me, because it also offers new ways of learning. Often it simply involves exploring an instrument to see what it can do. Going over the same material doesn't help you progress, and I don't see the point of that at all.”