Independent rock band The Shrieks is scheduled to release its latest album Friday. Ode To Joe, the band’s third album will be released independently by the band. The 13-song record is a surprisingly enjoyable offering from the New York-based band with its unique musical arrangements and its lyrical themes. Those arrangements and lyrical themes are each critical to the whole of the album in their own way and will be discussed here. The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements and will be discussed later. All three items noted here are important in their own right to the whole of Ode To Joe. All things considered, they easily make this record one of this year’s top new independent albums.
The Shrieks’ third new album Ode To Joe is a work that will appeal to a wide range of listeners. It is a record that while it may not break the band into the mainstream realm, is still deserving of its own share of attention. That is due in no small part to the arrangements that make up the record’s body. From beginning to end of the 45-minute record, the band offers audiences a variety of musical styles in its arrangements, opening with a bluesy DIY-style garage rock composition in ‘T. Rex.’ What’s interesting is that this arrangement, with its keyboards, guitars and bass (and even its vocals) throws somewhat back to the 1980s. The catch here is that in this case, that throwback is actually a good thing. It will ignite a certain sense of nostalgia in many listeners’ minds. ‘Lie To Me’ takes listeners forward in time to the early 90s with its vocal delivery and “poppy” guitar approach. If anything, it lends itself to comparisons to some classic Rolling Stones songs through its approach. ‘Whistleblower’ is another track that takes audiences back to the mid-late 80s through its arrangement, but again, it does so in the best way possible.
As Ode To Joe continues its progression, things change up in its fourth song, ‘Notre Dame is Burning.’ The song’s arrangement is a reserved, spoken word style work whose slide guitars, electronically-altered vocals, bass and drums actually conjures thoughts of Pink Floyd in an odd way. This is a stark stylistic change from the album’s first three songs, and ensures in its own way, that audiences will remain engaged and entertained by this record. The album’s title track, which immediately follows ‘Notre Dame is Burning’ is another very intriguing work. The mix of the heavier elements and the bluesy guitars will take some listeners back to the 1970s. The addition of the tambourine to the arrangement adds to that classic 70s rock sound even more. Moving into ‘Give Love,’ the song’s sixth song, the band’s attention turns to a more rock/R&B/Soul hybrid sound. Even here, listeners are taken back in time to the 70s, and in the best way possible once again. Once more, too, audiences see that the band set out to keep things interesting at least musically. Things do stay interesting, too through the record’s second half, as audiences get a funky sort of work in ‘Mirror Mirror,’ a pair of country rock-style songs in ‘The Climb’ and ‘Let Me Go,’ and something more garage rock-esque in ‘Love Or Lust.’ ‘Collision’ is another funky type work while ‘Super Cryptonite’ is another classic blues-based rock and roll work that will connect with plenty of listeners. ‘Legs,’ which closes out the album, comes across as some kind of old school stoner rock song, from its guitars, bass and drums right to its vocals. Looking back through this and the rest of the album’s songs, it becomes clear just how much variety The Shrieks offer audiences throughout the course of its new album. If only for that reason, the album is deserving of its own share of attention. It is just one of the reasons that audiences will appreciate the album. Its lyrical content adds to its interest.
The lyrical content featured throughout this album is notable because it is just as diverse as the album’s musical arrangements. Case in point is the lyrical theme in ‘Give Love.’ The song’s title and lyrical content work hand-in-hand with one another. This is a song that encourages unity among people. That is inferred in the chorus as the group sings, “Give love/Share love/All around/Give love/To everyone/Make it simple…” Front man Luis Acorsi even notes in the song’s second verse, “You never know/Today might be your last day” before the group returns to that chorus section that encourages everyone to “spread love to everyone.” This is a message that everyone needs every day, not just in the current global situation. On a completely different note, the band takes on the fire that tragically destroyed so much of the Notre Dame Cathedral last year in the aptly titled ‘Notre Dame is Burning.’ Acorsi makes note at one point in this song about the ashes from the fire being the “oldest that we have ever seen/The stories that it kept/Being told all at once in on black burst of a flame.” At another point, he questions in relation to the fire and the cathedral’s history, “Do they see us in the afterlife/What we don’t see in the here and now/Do they see us burning them?” That is another note of the impact of the fire, as history was virtually being destroyed. The melancholy in these statements, coupled with the equally melancholic feeling established in the song’s musical arrangement has a heavy impact on listeners. This is just one more way in which the lyrical content in this record proves just as diverse as the album’s musical arrangements. ‘Love or Lust’ is another example of the importance of addressing the album’s lyrical content. This up-tempo garage-punk style work seems to come from the standpoint of someone who is just obsessed with just having someone, not caring if that connection is something emotional or physical. That is inferred in the chorus, in which the subject states, “I don’t care/I want some/I don’t care/I need some/Love.” Considering this and the energy in the song’s arrangement, which conjures thoughts of work from Iggy Pop and the Stooges, the song is relatable in that someone knows someone like this song’s subject. The subject is just someone who is insecure with himself/herself, and just wants whatever connection is available, whether it be emotional or physical. That desire is, in itself, rather unhealthy, as it can lead to self destructive behavior in the bigger picture, thus the high, frantic energy in the arrangement. Once more, here listeners get a song whose lyrical theme does not repeat in any form at any point in the album’s run. It’s just one more way in which the lyrical content proves as important as the album’s musical content. The two items together make for lots of reason to listeners to take in this album. They are not the album’s only key elements. Its sequencing rounds out its most important elements.
Ode to Joe’s sequencing is important to note because it keeps the album’s energy stable from beginning to end with all the right rises, falls and directional changes at all the right points. The record starts with a mid-tempo work in ‘T.Rex’ ensuring a strong start for the album. The album’s energy actually picks up a little from there in the follow-up to ‘T. Rex,’ ‘Lie To Me.’ ‘Whistleblower’ carries the energy that was continued in ‘Like To Me,’ but eventually gives way to the more reserved ‘Notre Dame is Burning.’ That reservation doesn’t last but so long, giving way immediately after to the record’s more upbeat title track. ‘Give Love’ maintains the energy exuded in ‘Ode To Joe,’ but moves it in a slightly different direction thanks to the song’s arrangement. That energy gradually decreases as it makes its way through ‘Mirror Mirror’ and into the far more reserved ‘The Climb,’ yet again, keeping things interesting for listeners. That reserved energy continues through ‘Let Me Go’ before giving way again to the much more up-tempo ‘Love or Lust.’ The album’s energy takes another turn in ‘Collision’ while maintaining its upbeat vibe at the same time, once more, ensuring listeners remain engaged and entertained. That energy continues on through ‘Super Cryptonite’ and into the album’s closer, ‘Legs.’ By the time ‘Legs’ ends, listeners will be left feeling fulfilled thanks to the attention to each song’s energy and the direction in which each song takes that energy. Keeping all of this in mind, clearly, much thought and time was put into figuring out the best way to sequence the Ode To Joe’s songs. That time and thought paid off just as much as did the songs themselves and their accompanying lyrics. All things considered, the album in whole proves itself a presentation that is well worth hearing.
The Shrieks’ new album Ode To Joe is a surprisingly enjoyable addition to this year’s field of new independent albums. It is a presentation that holds its own well against its counterparts. That is proven in part through the diverse musical arrangements that make up the album’s body. They give audiences plenty of reason in themselves to keep listeners engaged and entertained from start to end. The lyrical themes that accompany the musical arrangements are diverse in their own right, adding even more interest to the album’s presentation. The record’s sequencing puts the finishing touch to its presentation. Each noted item is clearly important in its own way to the whole of the album. All things considered, they make the album in whole another notable addition to this year’s field of new independent albums that deserves just as much attention as any of the year’s other new independent albums. It will be available Friday. More information on the album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:
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