Released: October 2021
Label: Stones Throw Records
'While You Were Sleeping...' presents a retrospective account of a project that has had time to marinate. This week sees us returning to Silas Short's 'Drawing'.
Silas Short is a Chicago-based musician with a unique story. He developed his ‘liquid style’ of production after shattering a bone in his left hand at the tender age of 19. On ‘Drawing’, his debut EP for Stones Throw Records, he exhibits that style alongside a charismatic vocal presence and a spider web of influences that make this project an accurate introduction.
This seven-track work perfectly displays a meeting of heady 90’s neo-soul and emotive indie, both of which draw from jazz & gospel. Short’s deft harmonies, elastic guitar playing, and rich electric piano chords maintain the beauty of each song, helping the project stay in one piece. And these songs are beautiful - so beautiful is the magic they sketch out and bring to life. Opening track 'Cloudy June' has a bounding explorative bass line with synth inflections and a fluttering guitar lead that shows just how subtly Short's sound can morph and reshape itself when juxtaposed against lead single 'Queen of Paisley' - a downtempo beat with brighter guitar and drowsy lead vocal with a weighted bassline and soft falsetto harmonies.
Short sings of romance and connection with rare confidence and conviction akin to Mac Ayers. So overt is his infatuation with love that it melts even the hardest of us within the first minute. Second track 'TwO' finds its power in letting that spark happen without force, the match striking as the wind pushes the match head across the box. It's not on first impression the most revelatory songwriting but the way it’s sung is; the relaxed breathing out of the couplet "self-love needs no permission, I’m gonna draw my vision" is simple yet thoughtful, a unique depth that could easily be explored further in the future.
There is an irresistibly tender-hearted, arms-wide-open sound to 'Drawing' and there never feels a time where Short is closed off or musically unavailable. Bittersweet chord progressions transport you through the candescent production and saintly instrumentation of 'Drawing' and it is an indisputably lovely listen. Even if the songs don't resonate with you personally it's impossible not to experience the magnetic appeal Short has. For those who do resonate with these songs, it's one of the most gratifying listens you can experience, not a moment passing where you aren't falling deeper in love with everything he does. There are clearly more tricks up his sleeve - his smooth blending of indie and neo-soul instrumental styles is so inspiring and emphatic that you can only wonder where he might go with it from this point on. While he's still carving out his place within the blurry landscape of modern music paradigms, each song brings him closer and closer to unlocking that door and finding a whole new universe lying behind it. Soon, that time will come and take him even further than he could ever imagine.