WHEN I went to listen to The Deep Shining Sea at Ivory Blacks, I wasn’t sure what to expect.

I had taken a tour of their website and listened to them on YouTube, but of course, that is never the same as experiencing a live band.

When I arrived early, I was able to enjoy two other groups play and I saw artists flexing their musical muscles and sharing their own sound with their Glasgow audience. It made me wonder what mark The Deep Shining Sea would leave on the evening.

Then, as soon as they began playing Girl There’s Something You Should Know, I knew that they intended for the music to be more than notes and to speak of something more. The track ticked all the right boxes. It had good pacing, moving back and forth with different tones and tempos. It offered clear transitions, meaning that the altering emotions and energies of the song were given a vivid voice.

Better still, to my surprise, each instrument was heard and properly appreciated, rather than the bass obnoxiously drowning everything out and obliterating distinction.

As with the rest of the songs, the diction was usually strong, a trait which I feel is undervalued, as there is no point having meaningful lyrics if you can’t understand them. In my mind, iconic music is not just creatively clever, or technically defined, but is equally matched when the artists help the listeners engage with and absorb the soulful words, appreciating their purpose.

Chase Your Dreams While You Can was clearly auto-biographical and again, the different tones and accessible lyrics helped reflect the changing moods between struggle and success; inviting the lister to join the artists’ story.

Overall, their set had something for everyone. I felt they offered a fusion of styles, which echoed the influence of other musicians. There was also a magnetic quality to their music, as it spoke of our hunger to find connections, our striving to achieve, and the painful pressure of simply existing.

However, the greatest testament for me was seeing the lead singer Steven Hillcoat’s mum in the audience, channelling all the pride and support that she could muster their way.

To me, this simple but sweet scene held a deep, shining truth. That being an artist is hard and making your way is hard. But we can only achieve it, if we are determined to commit, work hard, be fervent, and surround ourselves with those who bless and follow our journey. 

Words by Caroline Malcolm-Boulton
Pictures by Iain Smith