Hear The Track HereWhen I reviewed Whistleblower (July 2004) by Shorthand Phonetics, I had no idea of the shitstorm of cries about the quality of the recorded sound these guys pump out. As I stated at the time ' I can overlook numerous production and arrangement flaws if the track carries its own weight' and I've had to stand by that statement time and again over the ensuing years. Those years being full of tracks from their first full album Fan Fiction and the second Apparently...I'm In Medicine / Love, or the Illusion of the Beginning Symptoms of It. All of which didn't help any to get past people's instant love or hate of this Indonesian band.
No, maybe I should clarify.
I say band, but in fact SP is these days singer/songwriter Ababil Ashari who was the sound of the original band anyway. I have to say that being a long time fan of Ababil's songwriting ability, I've had to put aside many of the predjudices I've harshly applied to other tracks. Probably because, at heart, I just like the kind of music that Shorthand Phonetics (in whatever form) have been known to pump out from time to time. Although Ababil's navel gazing whimsical songs often amuse me, it's the harder, rockier sound that I've always gone for and - yipee - Goodbye Juria is made of that material. I've often made reference to the early punk Manchester sound of the Buzzcocks as being the root of this side of SP's work, and I see no reason whatsoever to deny that. In fact, I revel in it because I love the energy and verve of this style.
Even when the performance suffers because of that energy.
So crucify me already and lets have done with it. Working in a language that is not his mother tongue, in a pretty crowded genre, working with a basic setup, Ababil still manages to sound like he's having the best fun and it comes out in the music, slapping a big fat grin on your face. For sure, you would have to put up with a certain number of rough edges but that was always the way with this singular artist, as I am sure their other long term fans will testify. Since 2004 Shorthand Phonetics has kept me both entertained and amused, despite the odd glitch and hiccough, with some great songs and Goodbye Juria is a classic example of what they do best. And yes, that vocal breakdown does sound weird, but hey that's all part of the charm that is Shorthand Phonetics. I've long since given up trying to make any difference.
MUST HAVE for fans. Your roll of the dice for the rest of you.
Well. Do ya feel lucky, punk??