ALBUM REVIEW: shaene – ‘time lost / time regained’


I was going to start this review by saying that I’d been blown away by the two single releases from this album but this is music reviewer speak at its most facile (and yes, I admit it’s something I’ve said in the past). It implies that something about the music was hugely impressive but doesn’t say what was impressive. In my case it would conceal the fact that, beyond the fact that musically it’s incredibly impressive, I am deeply affected emotionally by the songs.

I’m going to start by saying that this album has a overarching theme; putting it better than I could the release about it says “‘time lost / time regained’ reflects on shaene’s childhood and its enduring effects on her relationships today. Tackling issues of mental health, familial alienation and the trans experience, and finally settles on acceptance, recovery, and the choice to end the cycle”. But it’s how it does this that makes it beautiful, and I will get to this later.

The album opens with the previously released ‘june’. The sound is gorgeously rich and sometimes sparse blend of carefully chosen sounds that make something that is dreamy, somewhat shoegaze-y and possibly even with a hint of bedroom pop. It does that quiet, sparse and wistful, swelling to glorious sound. Guitars chime. Guitars add these fabulous touches of sound. And the vocals, let me tell you about the vocals. There are dual lead voices, there are layers and layers of achingly beautiful harmonies and vocal lines that twist and turn around each other.

But what is important here, given that it sounds amazing, is how it makes you feel emotionally. There is a sense of fragility and sadness, of truths being told, of emotions being laid bare. But there is a sense of strength; laying bare emotions and the personal, at this level is strong. I won’t hide the fact that the first time I listened to this I cried. Not just had tears in my eyes, I actually properly cried. It overwhelmed me. If one of the functions of art is to provoke emotions, this song did that.

‘bleach’ is about wanting to cleanse yourself of all that you hear is wrong about yourself and end up believing them to be true. Lyrically it’s about the most scathingly honest telling of other’s criticisms that become internalised I’ve seen in a song. And while the words are personal, somehow I think that, perhaps secretly, these are things that hide in us all. Musically the deep honesty of the words is paired with an intro that is light and sparse, moving to a sound that speaks of torture. The whole is something that leaves you in a small heap on the floor.

Another of the previously released songs ‘sad’ follows. It sounds like a mix of things; dream pop, a hint of shoegaze, late 70s DIY music of the wider post-punk scene and torch song ballads of the late 50s and 60s. The last may have had you reeling in confusion, it may have left you thinking that I have lost any knowledge of music I may have had. But I’m sticking to that; just listen to those times when the music swells in wrung out emotion.

You have probably reached the conclusion sometime before now that with a song called ‘sad’ that sounds sad, the song is about something sad; and of course it is. shaene explains “‘sad’ is about being lodged in a deep depression, convinced that everybody would be better off without you around.”

It sounds almost overwhelmingly sad, it’s drenched with a melancholic feeling that is mesmerising. There is a delicacy to the sound; it goes from whisper quiet to big musical swell in a kind of magical way. Look I know objectively that this is arrangement, songwriting and playing, but let’s not get bogged down in those when there’s this beautiful ethereal sound to take us where it will.

‘fair’ is about something personal, and although the song mentions the piercing of ears I think you need to consider that a placeholder for a range of other more important things that are not fair. shaene describes her sound as being lo-fi emo, and this is perhaps the song that is most recognisable as that. The musical feel is big. Big on tune. And at last big on guitars that burn.

Self-criticism is a theme of the album and ‘dumb’ is another song that is about this. The easiest way to see this is to read the words so I’ve included the words to all the songs at the end of the review. It’s another light delicate and dreamy moving to a big swell of sound song. I’m going to say more about this at the end of the review (no skipping please). There is a standout moment (amongst many others on the album) where what I can only describe as a out there guitar solo appears. The beauty is that this is not shocking, it sits in the sound in a slightly muted way; this is not about a solo it is about emotion.

shaene says that ‘snot’ is about ‘my own experience growing up and noticing I was different from the other boys in my school and them noticing I was different too’. Even though it’s short it’s achingly emotional. It stands out because it’s sparse and has a sound that might be described as alt-folk mixed with bedroom-pop.

The album ends with the biggest sounding song on it ‘maybe’. Despite being only 3 minutes long it has more than many other songs – sparse picked guitar, dreamy vocals, ethereal passages, huge shoe-gaze-y guitars. But somehow more importantly in the depths of all that sound is buried a beautiful tune. For me, and this is very much a personal take, it has an echo of The Polyphonic Spree. The sense of looking forward in the sound is mirrored in the words which speak about the possibility of good things in the future if you just could believe in that happening.

I could go on at length about how musically impressive this album is, about how it’s so obviously carefully put together, and this wouldn’t be wrong. But the important thing is that this has been used to convey feelings, emotions and meaning. The music supports and increases the emotions and personal experiences that you can find in the words. The waves of delicate and quiet followed by the swells of sound describe sonically the ups and downs of emotions, mental health and life.

And while these songs are painfully raw and personal, they tell of things we can all understand or have experienced ourselves. And this is why listening to them is a deeply emotional experience; painful and disturbing at times but ultimately rewarding.

‘time lost / time regained’ is beautiful. It’s brutally honest, and an emotional journey told in words and music that are at the same time carefully crafted and simply communicated. This is music that reaches in and tears at your soul.

The info

shaene has spent years writing and performing in a host of seasoned DIY bands across
Yorkshire. ‘time lost/time regained’ is her debut album.

Starting out as a lockdown bedroom recording project before developing into a full band recording shaene embodies the rich history of emo and shoegazing music, with glittering keys, powerfully projected vocals, and a dynamic gentleness.

The album is entirely self-recorded and self-produced, time lost / time regained offers not only an emotional insight to shaene’s inner workings but a technical one too. The album’s penultimate track, ‘snot’ was recorded in her bedroom onto a 4-track tape machine, and offers a nostalgic oasis away from the denser textures of the rest of the album.

The words


It’s hard enough
Why do they dedicate a day to you?
It’s easier to just pretend
I’m okay
And never thought about it
I’ll just sleep until it’s done

I lied (x3)

When the day is done
I retire to my room
The arguments,
I can hear them through the walls
It’s not my problem
So why do I always have to
Resolve them
I’ll just sleep until it’s done

I lied (x3)

It’s hard enough
Why do they dedicate a day to you?
It’s easier to just pretend
I’m okay
And never thought about it
I’ll just sleep until it’s done


Cleanse my soul with bleach
I’ve heard nothing but bad things
said about me
Well, I guess I’m just a piece of trash
I’m nothing but smoke and ash

You don’t really believe all that

A bruised ego with a stain on my shirt
It does nothing but make everything worse
You cut your teeth on saving face
From memories you wanna erase

You don’t really believe all that


I’m a waste
Of energy
Of anything good
And if everyone knew
I would be glad
Cos I’m sick and tired
Of feeling this way
But I’ll probably stay
Sad for a while
So don’t talk to me
And then you’ll be glad
That you stayed away
‘cause I am poison


In your room
Hearing voices
From the street
In your bedsheets

It’s not fair
Oh no, it’s not fair (x3)
Oh no

Pierced my ears
Wished you were there
Now I’m feeling weird
Like I’m not here

It’s not fair
Oh no, it’s not fair (x3)
Oh no


I’m just so dumb I can’t even begin to explain
All these thoughts that crawl in my brain
Try to escape through my mouth but I won’t let them out
Stupid words with stupid meanings

I’m just so dumb (x4)

The words like clay form in my throat and clog it all up
I try to speak but end up choking
Your eyes illuminate a path but I can’t follow
I find these words too hard to swallow

I’m just so dumb (x4)

And I’m just so dumb (x2)

I’m just so dumb (x4)


I was a good boy
Until I was not
But still I looked good though
All covered in snot

And all of the soldiers
All combing their hair
Would laugh at me crying
And pull back my chair


Maybe it’s all in my head I don’t think straight no more
Maybe I’m not the same person that I was before
Could I believe in something that makes me feel good?
For just a moment, yeah, I think that I could

Could I believe in something that makes me feel good?
For just a moment, yeah, I think that I could

Previous articleSINGLE REVIEW: Moose Wrench – ‘Not My Name’
Next articleGIG NEWS: Blues Train Weekender – The Railway Inn, Marsden – 16th/17th September 2023
Frank is the website guy for Local Sound Focus. Takes a lot of photos and loves writing about new music.