Review Summary: A prime example of the fact that just because you release something unique, you have not released something good.
A lot of hype has been surrounding this enigmatic project, as the public caught their first glimpse of what turned out to be the band Shone through cryptic tweets sent out by bands such as Brand New, Manchester Orchestra and Thrice to name a few. As can be assumed after reading that list of prominent and influential bands the anticipation for this mysterious album began building. There was speculation that it was Jesse Lacey himself, as in a rare interview he discussed helping band mates Brian Lane and Vin Accardi record a record last April. It turns out that the only confirmed member of this project was indeed Brian Lane, but it takes but one listen to begin to believe the guitar being played is written by none other than Accardi. So with all of this hype surrounding a new band it was almost impossible for Shone to live up to it all. With their first release heatthing, we see Shone fail to live up to their hype and also fail to even write a cohesive album.
More often than not a band that manages to break the confines of a certain genre and create music previously unheard of is praised relentlessly by critics through their career. But with heatthing we are exposed to the proverbial “exception that proves the rule”, as Shone is able to create a genre-less album, but is unable to create an album worth listening to. The album starts off interesting enough with standout track Piano Wire Number 12
, a track that, while containing nonsensical lyrics and obnoxious vocals that plague the remaining 8 songs, will without a doubt pique the interest of the listener. There is even a chorus that has a semi-normal vocal delivery, which is a welcome reprieve from what the rest of the song (and album at that) is plagued with nonstop. As the album progress the listener’s patience and acceptance for the ‘quirky’ vocals will inevitably wear thin. By the time Defender 237
rolls around it is without a doubt time for a break from the grating vocals. Serving as a much needed oasis, this instrumental track is a glimmering light of hope…Until the track ends and the listener is forced to listen to one of the worst songs they will voluntarily listen to this year. Baby Shakes (NU)
contains, shall we say, the most ‘ambitious’ vocal performance of the entire record. (Rivaled only by the ridiculous intro of the album closer Bestial
While the vocals are more than enough to send the most elitist hipster run for the hills, the lyrics being spewed are often times cringe-worthy. Take for example what is meant to be one of the most poignant lines on this record, as halfway through the previously mentioned closing track the vocals are silhouetted and we hear: What a poor situation humanity is in. You marry a man, you marry a woman you don’t even love and have a couple of kids you don’t even care about. Nobody deserves that desertion
. With horrendous vocals coupled with lyrics that should have never left the warped brain of the man behind Shone, heatthing fails to contain substance.
But amid the murky waters of terrible lyricism and delivery there is something to take interest in. The sounds and noises created by the varied instrumentation do their job of at least maintaining a listener’s sense of interest, if only a tiny bit. With effects pedals and many non-conventional instruments Shone succeeds in at least that area of creating music. But it rings true that even with unique instrumentation there will be a genuine lack of interest if the vocals do not bring anything to the table.
Shone’s first release quite frankly does not live up to the buildup that surrounded it. This release is proof that even if you release what will undoubtedly be the most distinctive release of 2013 you have not released anything worth listening to. With French rapping and opera like crooning, heatthing is an album that is all over the place and it never manages to come across as a smooth, comprehensive album. One can only hope that Shone will eventually live up to their enormous expectations, but for the time being they are nowhere near the pedestal they created for themselves.