Saturday, April 21, 2007

Shorthand Phonetics - Chivalry Is Lost On Some People

Hear The Track Here

Having taken my fair share of abuse for my championing of the Indonesian based Shorthand Phonetics over the last couple of years, it was tremendously heartening to get an email from Ababil Ashari (now sole prop of SP) saying that the influential IndoStars site had a feature on the band naming them as the best unsigned band in that part of the world. Although you can't say that without taking into account that pretty much all of the SP I have ever heard merely hint at how good they could actually be IF they ever got over their perrenial sound problems, which Chivalry undoubtedly suffers from.

As always that does mar the impact of the Chivalry Is Lost On Some People, which is in true Shorthand Phonetics stylee, definitely a return to musical form for Ababil - at least in my books. However, it is still top heavy with sound errors which - I would have thought - he had ironed out ages ago. The vocal, in particular, snaps out of the speakers quite ferociously more than once, suggesting that the singer was way to close to the mike. OK if you like that kind of thing but rubbish if ya don't. After more than three years at this game, I am beginning to wish that, finally, at last, this really unique band got their sound a bit more together than this because it does take away a lot from a really excellent song - the prime reason why so many people have stuck with them through thick and thin.

The song has always been the thing, and a good job too.

Chivalry is - like a lot of material from this quarter - surprisingly English sounding, even down to the vocal drawl. Which given that Ababil is in med school in Indonesia, could have only come from tracks he has been exposed to earlier in his life. I have often pegged them as kinda/sorta punk rock and I think I have been slightly wide of the mark on that supposition (not, definitely not, a suppository which is something we'll discuss later). What Shorthand Phonetics really remind me of is the musical heritage of the English North-West in particular the cities of Liverpool and Manchester; any resident of that part of England would be right at home with the music Shorthand Phonetics has to offer. Furious energy allied with a certain amount of navel-gazing lyricism that can only have come from this band. Excellent for fans and beginners alike, providing you like the rough and ready production it comes hampered with.

Energetic, noisy and oh so Shorthand Phonetics. Recommended for the song.

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