Shannen James team ups with Riley Pearce for an acoustic version of ‘Separate Ways’

The new spin on the track was produced by Holy Holy’s Oscar Dawson

Melbourne alt-pop luminary Shannen James has delivered a stripped-back version of her recent single ‘Separate Ways’, recruiting Perth singer-songwriter Riley Pearce to give it an emotive, folk-leaning spin.

In place of the original track’s bright and buoyant, groove-oriented pop flair, the new mix shines with dry, warmly strummed acoustic guitars and atmospheric strings that simmer and swell as the track progresses. Pearce’s deep, driving vocal adds a smokiness to the track that is beautifully offset by James’ heartrending falsetto.

Take a look at the video for the acoustic redux of ‘Separate Ways’ – which also features production by Holy Holy guitarist Oscar Dawson – below:

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In a press release, James explained that she was keen to approach ‘Separate Ways’ from a new angle given the colourful palette of tones she’d already explored on the original, noting that Pearce was an effortless fit for the new version’s contemplative feel. She said: “It’s so much fun taking a song that’s already got full production behind it and stripping it all down to the core.

“Working with Riley Pearce and Oscar Dawson on this track was honestly so cool, especially because I am such a fan of both of them. Riley’s vocal tone was so perfect for this duet and his ability to make a part his own was really important and he did it so effortlessly!

“Oscar really brought his lush guitar sensibilities to this song and I think he created such a beautiful world around our vocals. It doesn’t overdo it, but really pushes and pulls when needed. Like tugging at the heartstrings.”

‘Separate Ways’ was initially shared as a single back in July. Upon its release, James described the track as a “candid take on when relationships dissipate and for whatever reason run their course”.

Alongside the single, James announced a one-off headline show for the end of the year, set to go down at Melbourne’s Corner Hotel on Thursday December 2. Tickets for the gig are on sale now from the venue’s website.

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James released her debut EP, ‘Arrows’, last September. NME awarded it four stars upon release, with writer Giselle Au-Nhien Nguyen dubbing it “a delightful collection of indie pop bound to lift weary lockdown spirits”, and highlighting James’ ability to deliver “bright, heartfelt joy in spades”.

Pierce, on the other hand, released his ‘Love And Other Stuff’ EP back in March of this year, flanked by lead single ‘Electricity’.

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