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MKE Music Premiere: Shorelining’s ‘Reason’ makes off-kilter feel right on

Sahan Jayasuriya
Courtesy of the artist

Every week, Milwaukee Music Premiere connects the city’s artists with our listening audience. If you’re an artist with a track you’d like us to debut exclusively on Radio Milwaukee, head over to our Music Submission page to learn how.

There’s something to be said for a song that can build anticipation after just five seconds. I suppose it’s not really “building” when it happens that fast. Maybe dumps anticipation? Whatever verb you want to use, Shorelining’s “Reason” — the track premiering here — gives you a near-instant feeling that a crescendo is on the way … and then delivers.

Before we get to the crest of the wave, let’s enjoy the ride a bit. “Reason” starts creating that “can’t wait for the chorus” feeling in the first 45 seconds with a carefully orchestrated adding of instruments: a simple foundation of synth followed by bright piano chords, some Hovvdy-esque vocals, aggressively strummed acoustic guitar and, finally, fist-pumping drums and bass and electric guitar that pay everything off.

Shorelining’s Jesse Harmon explained that the whole thing began as a Dinosaur Jr. rip-off riff, admitting that you can still hear it in the verses. But “Reason” evolved into something complex and chaotic — two adjectives the Milwaukee indie-rock band welcome as descriptors for their music.

Those words definitely apply to both the lyrics and the lyrical delivery in “Reason.” There’s a very casual relationship with conventional rhythm that’s most evident in the chorus, where the last word of every line is delivered after a beat of hesitation. It nicely matches the song’s theme of disjointedness:

Remind me
Am I misremembering?
We were trying
But can’t slow the speed of dreams

Is it better 
Feel nothing or everything
I can’t find
A wavelength in between

To his credit, Harmon doesn’t get too precious about what the track tries to say. “I think the sentiment of the song is the realization that our memories are colored and distorted moments of time, and we can get stuck in a loop trying to recreate them,” he noted. “Or it's just about a fun night on a beach.”

Kind of a fun song for the beach, too. Listen right now using the player at the top of the page, and keep your ear open for it on 88Nine all day long (6:30 and 10:30 a.m.; 2:30, 6:30 and 9:30 p.m.). “Reason” will also appear on Shorelining’s self-titled EP coming out next Thursday, June 20.