REVIEW: SHERLOCK’S DAUGHTER – SHERLOCK’S DAUGHTER EP (2011)
I can’t say I know for certain that Sherlock’s Daughter took their name from the partially-eponymous fictional detective. Even if that’s not the case, the fact that they share part of a name is somewhat appropriate. You see, Sherlock’s Daughter recently released a self-titled EP filled with a bit of mystery.
The debut offering from theNew Yorkquartet is four tracks of room-swallowing alternative rock. The songs all follow a pattern that starts with Tanya Horo’s relaxed vocals alone or with minimal instruments. It should also be noted that while Horo sings alone for most of the record, she’s joined by her bandmates with some stunning backing vocals on “Sons and Daughters.”
For some bands, releasing four songs that all start similarly would mean the rest of their duration wouldn’t vary from one to the next. Though starting the same way is a bit formulaic, Sherlock’s Daughter uses it to their advantage in an impressive way (and here’s where the mystery part comes in). By providing a seemingly neutral starting point for each track, what comes as the songs play is a delightful surprise, a bit like a solution to a murder mystery novel you didn’t see coming.
Part of the fun of listening to this EP is playing a guessing game of what sounds are coming from where. As the instrumentation builds (with guitar reverb to spare), snippets of unexpected instruments slip to the forefront, but Sherlock’s Daughter doesn’t limit themselves to musical instruments, per se. “Kids,” the EP’s third track, and this writer’s personal favorite of the four, kicks off with an array of ticking and old-fashioned alarm clock bells. The final track, “In the End” pulls in the sound of wind and rain at its finale, making it seem like the band has just finished a throwing a party in the middle of a storm.
The band takes the pattern method beyond just arrangements and to their songwriting as well. Most of the songs consist of one strong verse, parts of which are repeated over and over throughout the song, almost like a more dance-friendly meditative chant.
For “Reprise,” the ongoing refrain is, “I don’t need this war.” “In the End” continually urges “don’t be scared, or be frightened … love can’t hurt us now.” All in all, nice sentiments sent to nice music. Here’s to hoping there’s more in store from Sherlock’s Daughter in the future.