By Charlie Englar
Classical training and profound emotional and musical intelligence burst from the seams on the newest release from the Fort Collins-based sisterhood quartet that is SHEL.
When The Dragon Comes Down, an EP, displays all the beautiful and bountiful musical blossoming that is happening for the Holbrook sisters. Sarah, Hannah, Eva and Liza (SHEL) blend mesmerizing harmonies with what can best be described as Irish folk music.
Gentle and soothing mandolin from Eva sweeps in and out of Sarah’s steady basslines, all backed by luxurious violin virtuosity.
When The Dragon Comes Down is also sprinkled with its share of subtle nuances and touches.
“Ruby Slippers” opens with the sounds of a music box being wound up, before leading into sunny, snappy harmonization by the sisters.
“Please Come Home,” besides being a torment of a pleading call to a loved one to return home in both the figurative and literal sense; “I feel my dusty heart ache / As I try to sleep but just lay awake / Wondering where you are / What will it take?” also finds some nice percussion work settled in the comfort zone between faint and forefront.
There are many moments of serenity and calmness to be found on When The Dragon Comes Down, and at a time when SHEL is really gaining steam on the national level, this EP is a strong reminder of the musical chops these four sisters carry, both individually and as a unit. Recognizing talent trumps any preference towards musical style, and one must acknowledge and give credit when it’s deserved.