Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Shanks- Surfing the Lexicon

Let's get right to this- I hadn't heard the band before this, and they clearly know their way around. They remind me of Tilts- this is classic party rock with a chewy indie rock center. Since they're  up in Toronto, it's also like Sloan- Candy-sweet harmonies, wrapped in fuzzy, tough riffs.
Twist number one- they're a bass and drum duo. Sure, they cheat a little with a few keyboards, but still- no guitars in a rifforama rock.
Twist number two-  the mix is between stoner rock's embrace of the absurdity inherent in classic rock, and indie rock's nostalgia for the broken little secrets of a Generation X  childhood- Which is to say there's a lot of looking back , and revising.
That does mean it's somewhat self-limiting- I can't see a 20 year old digging this stuff, without some layer of irony. But it also means that, much like QOTSA, Tilts, Sloan and Triggerfinger- these guys are lifers who are chasing down a long-held passion.
Which brings me to my one disappointment in this record- There's no room in the vision for me. I don't usually talk about this, but I listen to music in two ways- in my car, and at home. When at home, I listen with a guitar in my hand. Some people sing along, I play along. I've done this for years. So, no, I'm not a frustrated wannabe rock star- I'm a lifer, who derives more meaning from riffs, and hooks than from lyrics and choruses. So, I'm tuned into sound and fury, rather than whether it means anything. It's pretty rare for me to think I could honestly add anything to any of the songs and Artists I hear. Shanks are one such rare example- playing along with a capo on the seventh fret, through an Octave pedal and a fuzz box, I can add a little color to some of these songs. Little runs and figures, nothing major- but I know it doesn't figure into what they want to be- and that bums me out, just a little bit, because I really wouldn't mind joining these guys.
I suppose that's a testimony to how good their sound is- a band you'd want to be in, right?

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