The Shivers – Charades – Album Review
Sometimes when I find myself listening to a particularly innovative new band, I wonder about just how much untapped creativity is still out there, waiting for us all to discover. Musically, we ALL know someone in the ‘it’s all been done’ camp…those that believe nothing new or exciting has been happening since like, 1950-something; but you know you’ll never find me there.
And from the sounds of things, this incredibly creative band known as The Shivers are of the same mentality; Charades is a true art-piece in indie music – and I absolutely love it.
A reviewer’s ear has to stretch big-time to be able to hear anything close to what The Shivers might sound like for a reference. I’m no different. Though I’m known for pulling out some incredible ‘sounds-like’ from time-to-time, this one is tough. Here’s what I’ve got…in one big long sentence for ya; old Beck-meets-old-Weezer-meets-Iron & Wine-meets-Beta Band-meets-Stephen Malkmus-meets-Alt-J-with some like…old…reallllllllly old Disney-esque fantasy themes thrown in.
Yeah….something like that. See what I mean?
Whether or not this New York duo can be pinned down to a single sound comparison or genre for that matter, is irrelevant; truthfully I’m glad that it doesn’t come easy sometimes. To me, this music has been a completely new experience and a real trip into melody and a focused vision, complimentary of The Shivers. The production values are spectacular – this album feels at times like it was recorded in a tiny bedroom, and others right from the pro-studio. Combined with the intelligent diversity in the music itself, you get one completely killer set of eleven tracks from this extremely authentic band.
After the opening intro/title-track “Charades” pulses along…you get a quick-sensing that this album could literally go anywhere – and it does. They had me immediately hooked through the recording-of & genius songwriting in “L.I.E.;” which becomes an extremely impactful & emotional track. As that leads into the opening lyrics for “Soho Party,” which had me in absolute hysterics; The Shivers switch up the album three straight moments in a row and managed to hook me in every single time. The thing about “Soho Party” that I absolutely LOVE – is that the track itself, musically, is just addictive as all-hell…even those that might not be so comfortable with the subject matter won’t be able to help singing along. Genius.
“Kisses” makes for an interesting Radiohead/Powderfinger-esque kinda track. It’s definitely one where you can appreciate just how different The Shivers can make a pop-song. “Beauty,” is another perfect example; these songs are loaded with gorgeous melodies that are full of pure heart, soul & raw-emotion. Whether in their acoustic setting, or diving into electro territory like on “Bedroomer” – you can’t help but appreciate the incredible amount of thought and intelligence behind making music that truly breaks ground like this does. Charades plays along like a complete adventure, one that twists at every turn and takes you on a completely amazingly subtle thrill-ride into brand new sounds and ideas.
Doubt what I’m saying? Listen to “Sunshine.” This kind of artistic endeavor in music is so rarely a path taken; and again, I find myself in complete awe when listening to ideas done this WELL – why aren’t there MORE bands out there with these kind of musical-cahones? To me, there’s such an immaculate payoff that is well-beyond words when you find that untapped musical vein that really shuts out the rest of the world’s influence and allows you to do your own thing. Charades…this album is like a pure glimpse into the musical mind, unfiltered.
An album with this much genius behind it truly deserves the immaculate ending that it has. Closing on two of the strongest tunes on the entire album; both “I Could Care Less” and “Roses” bring in fantastic, dream-like melodies that bring the energy down a bit, but certainly not the quality. In the studio here…aside from the music playing, you could have easily heard a pin drop each time these two tunes came around again as I ventured from listen to listen. You just don’t find music as original as this every day…and when you do come across something as inspiring as this latest album by The Shivers, it shouldn’t simply demand your attention – you should WANT to give it.
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