SOUTH-EAST London vaudeville blues-folk quintet Sasha & The Shades have a new EP, Grin & Bare It, lined up for release not just digitally, but on that sexiest and scarcest-used of formats, the 12″, too, and that’ll be with us next Friday; but they want you to draw close, so today here at Backseat Mafia they’re premiering the video for the off-kilter, theatrical punk-blues of “Smile”. Why not climb aboard?
As the EP’s title indicates, its five tracks (with an extra bonus live track, “I Wanna Go Dancing” on the wax) sees the band at revealing the darker emotion playing out behind those fixed grins, the fixed grins of us all, at it happens, in the current world; the fragility of human relationships, the tightrope of mental health that we’re all doing a balancing act on at the minute.
On the stageshow blues of “Smile”, the band’s twin vocal front, Sasha Adamczewski and Eli Rose J Sanford sing: “I look to the left and the devil is smiling / I look to the right and momma is crying / I look to the left the flowers are dying .. What I do when the thrill is gone? / These blue suede don’t suit my song.”
Singer-guitarist Sasha says: “The song’s sentiment is about pasting on a smile when inside you are crumbling, so we came up with this idea where a young woman (played by Eli Rose Sanford, vocalist in the band) is being exploited by a magician (played by Josh Bartley, an actual magician by trade) as his dutiful assistant, always keeping her fixed smile on stage while she’s being gaslighted by her employer.
‘We are very proud of the balance that has been achieved between the videos originality and cinematography, both of which are truly stunning, but also the respect that is given to the most important thing: the music.
“The video has its own internal narrative but this does not interfere with the words and message of the song; something which is hard to achieve but incredibly important to get right.“
And it’s an ace video, directed by Matthew French of Ey Up Films, photographed by Steven Owen of Cardinal Films, in which the travails of the poor magician’s assistant are laid bare for all to see.
The band that currently lines up beside Sasha and Eli-Rose is lead guitarist and harmonica player Tom Julien-Jones, bassist Jim Dawkins and drummer Paul Windsor Hart, with bowed double bass from former Red Snapper maestro Ali Friend on selected tracks on the EP.
The band is understandably chomping at the bit to get back to the live arena; meanwhile, they’re due to play an online show for In The Neutral Zone at London’s AMP Studios on June 21st.
Sasha & The Shades’ Grin & Bare It EP will be released digitally and on vinyl next Friday, March 26th; you can pre-order your copy here.