Record Review //
"Rose of Smiling Faces"
(C/Site Recordings / Grapefruit)

On the surface, Shirese can seem like a psychedelic rock n roll band.   They can come off as a throwback to a different time and depending upon your age and influences you'll hear sounds in here which your parents (or maybe grandparents) listened to and enjoyed in their youth.   But Shirese proves with "Rose of Smiling Faces" that they aren't just a novelty act, a reminder of an older time, but also are helping to bring rock n roll not only into the present but the future as well.  Because rock n roll has needed some help for a little while now, as you rarely hear it on the radio any more (in terms of new artists)

"Rose of Smiling Faces" begins with this loud ringing that feels like an old telephone alarm.  That takes us right into the first song which is just full of distortion- even in the vocals- and then has those classic rock undertones.  There is a warped sound in here as well, which I checked against the digital to make sure it wasn't something wrong with the record or my record player.   The static sounds of channels changing and explosions take us to the end of the first song and that sets the tone for what this album is to be.

"Bed the Cactus" comes through a little bit slower while "Tender Love for the Joyless" feels more like rocking with speaking and the guitar gets a larger focus as well.   Through melodies there are the sounds of changing frequencies in a supersonic way.  "I Feel It" has acoustic elements and brings us the line "And you generate the heat" while there are also just some weird noises in this song.   

Spoken words come out through music, about being anointed, and there is a focus on the percussion with the sound of things crashing around.   It drifts off into the music and the guitar has a sort of solo as it moves to the front of the sound.  The final song has these words about someone just hypnotized by the record player as they "sit for hours / fixated on spinning objects" and sometimes I feel like that's true of me even though it's more about listening to the music than watching it spin.

What you have to realize about this band here is they've created a sound that captures two sounds and that's what makes it so special.  On one hand, yes, there are those classic rock n roll vibes you can think of as being related to The Velvet Underground, if you are of a certain age.  But the instrumental parts and the spoken word pieces and everything which holds these songs together just goes under that experimental genre and that just puts this record in a place where it feels like two artists but flows so seamlessly together you know it's one.


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