Some albums just catch your attention. I can’t say that I was in any way familiar with Shelley Short’s previous releases but, after hearing “Then Came The After”, I reckon that I shall be investigating all that she has done. This wasn’t a rash decision either.
“Then Came The After” is probably the least impressive album you will hear. Or at least you will think that the first time you hear it. Shelley Short sounds like any cute, verging on twee, singer songwriter from any metropolis you might care to name then, as you press the play button again, you realise why you pressed the button again. This album washes over you and sounds spacious with a whole cornucopia of subtle sonic references present and correct to underpin her vocals. In some ways, I was reminded of – a personal favourite - Joanna Chapman-Smith although Ms Short is altogether more of the wide open spaces than the urban emotional combat environment with “Right Away”, in particular, seeming as fragile as a leaf in the wind whilst actually being built on strong foundations.
Complexity and intelligence are frequent visitors here with the look backwards into the shadows concept underpinning “The Dark Aside” lifted by the use of a bouncy fifties style piano led backing. “Electricity” also seems reflective, even mournful, and reinforces that with a by counterpointing the synthetic soundscape with Ms Short’s almost childlike voice. Not by any means a lullaby, the song is nonetheless a restful one.
Once you give “Then Came The After” a second chance, you will find it both quirky and endearing even if Shelley Short does seem determined to hide from the sunshine. “Then Came The After”, as you will now have guessed, is an album that, quite simply, will win you over. Resistance is indeed futile.