Monday, February 3, 2014

Shy Boys S/T High/Dive Records 2013

Shy Boys S/T High/Dive Records 2013 CAT# HDR004

An online friend of mine asked if I had heard of this band and if I had the LP.  I'd heard all the local praises about the band and knew I wanted to pick up this album, but it's only been out a few weeks since it even came out-I hadn't got around to it.  She then mentioned how the band got a good review on Pitchfork.  Wait, what?  A tiny band from KC got a "good" review on Pitchfork?  Well, that being the case, I ran out as soon as I could to pick this up.

Of course, I read the Pitchfork review and sure enough, a 7.1.  Considering Pitchfork doesn't even like music anymore, a 7.1 is phenomenal.  Pitchfork goes on to praise the band's amateurishness and lo-fi pop aesthetic, which is fairly accurate.  But, after reading it, you'd think Beat Happening, to which the Shy Boys have long since surpassed in musical ability.  It also compares the band's bedroom pop to that of the Beach Boys, again, pretty accurate, it's clear the band has an affinity for Pet Sounds and even later-era Beach Boys like Holland or Surf's Up.  However, there's also a clear pysch element that is probably more closely related to more recent bands like Neutral Milk Hotel or even Deerhunter, but, if that's your gateway to the Beach Boys, no harm done.

The Shy Boys are a Kansas City three-piece made up of brothers Collin Raush and Kyle Raush, they are rounded out by Konnor Ervin.  Their brand of lo-fi pop has been putting out their name out in KC for the last couple of years.  There's an appearance on a comp, thought there was a 7"?, maybe a CD or something, and they played The Middle of the Map Fest.  They've certainly perked the ears of the right people as all the KC hipsters are shouting the band's praises.  And for good reason, the hipsters and Pitchfork are right, the album is solid.

The whole LP is 10 songs at 45 RPM (what's with the KC bands getting into fidelity?) totaling a little over 20 minutes, so it's short.  It's twee and unpretentious.  Well put together pop songs with no frills.  I mentioned Deerhunter earlier because the entire album could be mistaken for an intro to one of their songs before the "rock" starts.  Unlike Deerhunter, the Shy Boys do not "rock."  They wander between pop hooks and jangly guitar lines.  Again, it's not as off kilter or as amateur as someone like Beat Happening, but there's a childlike quality to it, it's naive.  But, with the harmonies, falsetto vocals, and use of space there's a lot more to this band.  The band labels themselves "landlocked surf music", but I'm dubbing it stripped down shoegazer, which isn't a thing, but it should be.

Live Shy Boys
This f'n Pitchfork review I keep talking about

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