Sunday, February 12, 2006

Steve Gilmore Reviews: Shorthand Phonetics - Everybody Knows...

Artist: Shorthand Phonetics
Title: Everybody Knows Every Romance Needs An Astro Tower

Considering that English is not this bands first language (they are from Jakarta, Indonesia), they certainly don't give that impression if you went purely by their song titles. As well as the above tome, the first three tracks on their Soundclick page are Real Equivalent of Shampoo (Sugar Maliciously...) and Aftermath of Losing Hope, the Concept and the Girl. If that doesn't do anything for you, try She Was My Fixation Until She Threw A Foreign Object At Me (!!). Obviously desperate to get into the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest song titles known to man, what else can this band of 16-17 year olds do?

Well, they make some damn fine music, for a start.

It is very heartening to see other reviewers struggling as much as me with this band because they ARE an incredibly difficult band to listen to, and harder still to give a meaningful review to. Personally, I like this band a lot - and so do many other reviewers I've noticed - and the reason for that is because they are that little bit special. I've liked them ever since I reviewed Whistleblower back in July 2004 despite some horrendous sound problems that have dogged them since forever. Strangely enough, Everybody Knows... is probably the first track where I can say, in all truthfulness, that THIS is a lot closer to the kind of production I have been expecting from this band in all this time. Sure, it's still a bit rough around the edges and the sound itself is a bit blurry, but all the instruments are balanced well and the spirit of the songs comes across exceptionally well.

It's in the songwriting that this band has always scored big with me. With great tracks like Green Apple Garden, All Too Platonic, This Goes Out To The Sweet and Niave and many others, Shorthand Phonetics have risen above their sonic problems time and time again and delivered some very hot slices of their own brand of magic along the way. Everybody Knows... is a direct descendant of a lot of the tracks I have mentioned, it being - in this case - a late 1960's throwback full of vaguely spacey lyrics, a vocal delivery that is early Pink Floyd in its twee sound and a huge musical backdrop to work itself out on. Obviously, this being a SP track and all that entails, you will probably have to give it some time to register on your ears and mind but when it does I think you will find that it has all the qualities of some of their best work and - as I say - a much improved overall sound, even though I felt the lead guitars kinda got buried waaaaayyy too much. Great track though, and shows that maybe SP are back on track after 2005's descent into the world of teenage angst.

Recommended, but with some gripes still about the sound....

1 comment:

PFTW said...

I thought the drums were awefully played on this.