As far as lo-fi indie rock bands go, Eric’s Trip will forever be my favorite of all time, no matter how many times I’m told that I should be listening to Pavement or Guided by Voices or something of that nature. For some weird reason, Eric’s Trip’s Love Tara
struck a deeply emotional chord with me last summer, and I’ve been listening to it nearly daily ever since. Hell, it’s very close to becoming my favorite album of all time. But, you, dear reader, must be wondering why I’m going on and on about an album this review is obviously not about. Well, you see, Shocking Pinks’ most recent self-titled release--a compilation, to be accurate, as it takes the best parts of the band’s other albums Mathematical Warfare
and Infinity Land
--is almost exactly like Love Tara
. Dirty, lo-fi production? Check! High-octane rockers with shredding guitars and highly complicated drum patterns, while mixing it up every once and a while with some acoustic confessionals? Check!! A heavily emotional vocalist that sounds as if he’s going to cry at any second? Check!!! Jesus, the resemblance is just fuc
This isn’t a bad thing, though. I found some solace in tracks like “How Am I Not Myself,” where vocalist and songwriter Nick Harte sings in a low, strained rumble, barely being heard against the swirl of acoustic guitars. Harte does a near perfect job at vocals, maintaining a deep and genuine emotion in his voice while never sounding annoying or pitiful. However, the songwriting in spots here is just glaringly lacking. Short, brief bursts of lo-fi rock worked for Love Tara
, Bubble and Scrape
, and Bee Thousand
, but some of the songs here just feel unfinished. “You Can Make Me Feel Bad”, for example, consists mostly of a verse and a repeated, annoying chorus, and just before the song is about to climax, it fuck
ing ends. This style is repeated on “This Aching Deal” and “I Want U Back”, and frankly, it’s annoying, and makes Shocking Pinks
feel like a collection of uncompleted demos than an album.
However, this isn’t a complete mess. Tracks like “The Narrator” and “Cutout” add keyboards and a beat-driven electronica vibe to the indie norm, and “Smokescreen”, with its cacophony of layered percussion and Harte’s unconventional spoken-word vocals, could almost be a Beck outtake. These surprises, like “23”, a sweet little piano-based instrumental, give this weighty album a bit of variety and just make things a little more interesting and a little less monotonous. Shocking Pinks
isn’t an amazing album, and the band borrows a bit too much from others to formulate its sound, giving most of this album a sourly familiar feel. But if you’re slightly depressed and bored, this is probably the perfect release to cuddle up with. Now put out the lights and cry about your ex.