Review: The Shilohs – The Shilohs

shilohs

If the exquisite corpse[1] had its way of existing not only in literature, but also in music, The Shilohs self titled album would be the perfect example of it. I’m not talking about surrealism in its formal meaning; all I’m saying it’s all about the liturgy of the making of this record that has a lot to do with it.

Every song written in this sophomore LP has been composed by three out of the four musicians that constitute Vancouver’s based folk/pop band: John Payne, Daniel Colussi, and Mike Komaszczuk, whom, alongside Ben Frey (drums), have managed to form different styles of tunes in a single material without making it sound out of place.

With no intentions at all in being considered as the makers of a surrealistic technique in music, each melody found in The Shilohs (2014) is a proof of the strong connection between the band members, despite of their variant styles and the independence that the musicians had during the songwriting process.

If every track in this record occupied a space in a blank sheet of paper, each one could be perfectly considered as the accurate lines of a beautiful poem, whose core would reside in cadavre exquis[2] method due to its unique Dadaist realization that represents different musical behaviors in an integral LP.

Whilst the overture of this album, ‘Student of Nature’, has a countryside folk essence filled up with happiness, a certain Rolling Stones mannerist nostalgia also takes place with tunes such as ‘Champagne Days’. Not to mention the obvious Beatles influences in ‘Sisters Of Blue’, whose lyrics makes you want to die of love: “You have a face that killed a thousand stars/ These eyes have watched you from afar.”

At the same time a sixties weight is quite observable, one of the most attractive things is how there’s a marked twist in the album’s mood that shows despair towards love with the energetic gist of ‘Porch Lights’, album’s closer in ‘Days Of Wine”, and ‘Strange Connections’, not only in the brutal guitar riffs and drums explosion, but also in its lyrics: “I don’t wanna play the game of love anymore”.

 Maybe one of the most interesting things about The Shilohs evolution since their debut with So Wild (2013)is how they can make the complexity of their eclectic nature sound as one without disengaging from their unique essence: The one that makes you want to fall in love with life’s contrapositions between light and darkness.

[1] A surrealist technique that consists in exploring the nature of accident and coincidence through the collective collage of words (or images). Played by several people, each one of them has to write a phrase on a sheet of paper, fold it, and pass it on to the next player for his contribution.

[2]  Original French name for exquisite corpse obtained from the first poem ever written with this technique: /Le cadavre/exquis/boira/le vin/nouveau/ (The exquisite corpse will drink the young wine).

Words: Danna Campos

The Shilohs Website. Bandcamp. Twitter. Facebook.

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