Whether or not you have heard of SHAED, if you have turned on your radio in the past year, you have listened to their collaboration “Trampoline” with One Direction alumnus ZAYN. While initially a single, SHAED capitalized on “Trampoline’s” success by adding it midway through their latest album, High Dive. Like the album’s title suggests, High Dive is a collection of songs written after capturing lightning in a bottle, and now the band is expected to do so again and again. From the heights of their success, they are diving into a pool of rabid fans and ravenous critics, waiting to see how they’ll fare.
High Dive alternates between powerhouse songs and reflective ballads. “Part Time Psycho” and “Wish We Had Longer” are hypnotic and showcase a sophisticated wild side. These particular songs resonate with a full stock of confidence and a shade of darkness that makes them addicting to put on repeat. Meanwhile, “Colorful” and “Visible Woman” slow the pace to celebrate the femininity of lead singer Chelsea Lee as she shines under the spotlight. Throughout the album, the musical backing bolsters the angelic-like voice of their badass, femme fatale vocalist in the same league as Bishop Briggs.
While the personal lives of the band are a mystery, it is clear that they are close. The apparent clones on the album cover are twin brothers Max and Spencer Ernst. Spencer and lead singer Lee ended up tying the knot, making the three of them as close as bandmates could be. While electro-pop would be the safest genre to shelve SHAED under, the backing of their songs contains elements of classical music with an upbeat tempo that helps them stand out from the assortment of electro-alternative, young-and-in-love bands that proliferate the industry. Thanks to the miracle of audio technology advancements, the three-team crew can put together an entire orchestra of sound, with the listener transported to an opera house within their own apartment.
While their hit “Trampoline” dominates their play count by a couple of decimal places, it is the one outlier amongst a very cohesive album. Combining funk, classical, and electronic pop, SHAED delivers a peek of sunshine as quarantine wraps around the United States. Like most of the music released last year, it is primarily introspective, but like a dream digging its way out from underground, sunlight is peaking through the cracks of the emergent musical scene.