Shoestrings: Expectations  CD / LP   (Shelflife Records)

Release date: November 5, 2021

Bio: Shelflife presents the long-awaited sophomore album by Shoestrings, Expectations, available November 5th on CD and digital formats. The LP vinyl will be co-released with Discos de Kirlian (Europe) and Fastcut Records (Asia), available in early 2022. The album features exclusive artwork by social realist figurative painter, Sean Mahan.

About Shoestrings

Shoestrings is Mario and Rose Suau: best friends, life partners, and quintessential introverts. As teenagers growing up in a northern suburb of Detroit, the two bonded over shared tastes in music, art, and film. In the early 90s, both played supporting roles in a mutual friend’s somber, 4AD-leaning band. A fervent interest in the sounds coming from Factory, Creation, and Sarah Records at that time, as well as sophisti-pop bands like The Blue Nile and Prefab Sprout, sparked the idea for a side-project.

Shoestrings served as a counterpoint and the two set up a true bedroom studio with a cassette 8-track recorder at the center. The pair’s intent was to write heartfelt, memorable songs with layered guitars, simple synth elements, soft vocals, and thoughtful lyrics. In between their university courses, weekend and late-night recordings resulted in a 7” single, several contributions to indie compilation albums, and a well-received, full-length debut album, Wishing On Planes, on Le Grand Magistery (US) and Flavour of Sound (Japan).

In the early 2000s, Shoestrings’ aesthetic was in a state of flux. The band wanted to evolve their naïve, homespun sound to feel more consistent and sophisticated overall. Rather than immediately release a pastiche follow-up album, the pair shifted focus to progressing their engineering and production skills. They had reached the limit with their analog 8-track, and it was time to adapt to music production software. By 2011, under the moniker Invisible Twin, they were able to put their new proficiency to the test by remixing tracks for Acid House Kings, Alpaca Sports, Red Sleeping Beauty, and Dylan Mondegreen.

In 2015, longtime friend, Johan Angergård (Acid House Kings, Club 8, The Legends), asked Rose to contribute lyrics and vocals for the synthpop project, Djustin. From Stockholm, Johan composed and offered up tracks. From Detroit, Rose wrote lyrics and sang vocals, while Mario engineered the recordings. Johan’s rigorous production approach and no-nonsense, Swedish candor required the pair to fall in lockstep quickly. The two found this novel process challenging, yet refreshing, which ultimately became the catalyst to rekindle Shoestrings. As soon as production of Djustin wrapped, Mario and Rose began writing new material in earnest.

About Expectations:

Surfacing nearly 27 years after the release of their first single, Expectations feels akin to the band’s Saturn return. It’s the album Shoestrings wished they could have written 20 years ago, but didn’t yet have the experience to bring it to existence. Time in itself can be a gift. In fact, the years that passed were instrumental in developing the album’s matured sentiment.

Now well into their adulthood, Mario and Rose have seen their share of friends decoupling. In their close circles, romantic optimism is now replaced with guarded cynicism. The highs and excitement of new relationships have been tempered with anticipatory disappointment and loss. Narratively, the band recounts these events and collected observations that left the deepest marks, but now, with a clearer perspective. Hindsight is 20/20, and it serves as a visible thread running throughout Expectations.

The first single, “Gone”, is also the opening track to the album. Like running into a long-lost, newly single, love interest, “Come closer now, ‘cause I haven’t seen you in a while. Tell me about how you’ve been without him around,” the song walks through the potential of a relationship that is bound to end badly. The pros and cons are weighed internally before concluding it was only a temporary lapse in judgment, “The feeling is…gone.”

“Gone” is released September 24th on all digital platforms.