Courtesy: Limited Fanfare Records
Independent neo-soul/funk outfit The Sh-Booms is gearing up for a new short North American tour run. The two-week tour, which features a performance in Carrboro, N.C. on May 31, is in support of the band’s debut album The Blurred Odyssey. The 10-song record was released March 22 through independent record label Limited Fanfare. It came a little more than three years after the band released its debut EP Usage Fee. Whether counted as a follow-up to that record or by itself as the band’s first full-length studio recording, the 38-minute record proves to be an impressive new offering from the Orlando, Fla-based band. The record’s soulful midway point that is ‘Late Night Lover’ is just one of the songs that serves to support that statement. It will be addressed shortly. ‘Dry Eyes,’ which immediately follows ‘Late Night Lover’ in the album’s sequence, is another of the record’s most notable entries. It will be addressed a little bit later. ‘Drop ‘Em Dead,’ which comes even later in the album’s run, is yet another of the record’s most notable additions. It will also be addressed later. When it is considered alongside ‘Dry Eyes,’ ‘Late Night Lover’ and the rest of the album’s songs, the whole of the LP becomes a work that is easily one more of this year’s top new independent albums.
The Sh-Booms’ debut full-length studio recording The Blurred Odyssey is a work that very much paints a clear picture of the band’s future. It is a record that, with the right support, can potentially make the band just as popular as similar acts, such as Alabama Shakes, Amy Winehouse and Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings. One of the songs featured in the 38-minute record that serves to support that statement comes halfway through the album in the form of ‘Late Night Lover.’ The song’s musical arrangement is a rich, soulful composition whose horns, guitars and drums couple with vocalist Brenda Radney’s vocals to create a work that lends itself to comparisons to works from Diana Ross and Aretha Franklin. It is a work that will certainly be a favorite for couples everywhere. That is especially the case considering the song’s lyrical content.
The lyrical content of ‘Late Night Lover’ is clear to say the least. Radney sings in the song’s lead verse, “Late night lover, what you doing to me/As I hold you close/I feel your heart skip a beat/Late night lover/How we doin’ on time/You’re under cover, catchin’ hearts on your line/All the time/It’s 10 til 2, and I’m watching the tube/I hear a knock at the door/And it’s gotta be you/You remove your vest from your chest/That’s my cue to undress and now it’s time to caress.” She goes on to sing about feeling heat and feeling certain other physical sensations at this point. She adds in the song’s second verse, “Now the smoke’s all clear/And you’re still here/And I think to myself/Am I a dwindling tear/But before you go/You must know/There’s something about your love/Makes my desires grow.” Again, there is little to no doubt as to what the song’s subject is saying here. This is one of those old-school works that is a romance song that focuses…well…on being with that someone late at night in the most intimate way. The work of Radney’s band mates on their respective parts does an expert job of helping to illustrate the very strong emotions felt during those late night moments, too. Credit where due, their work, coupled with Radney’s own powerhouse vocal delivery and her equally obvious story to create a song in this case that is one of the album’s highest points. It is just one of the works that exemplifies the overall strength of The Blurred Odyssey. ‘Dry Eyes,’ which immediately follows ‘Late Night Lover’ in the album’s sequence, is another of the record’s most notable works.
‘Dry Eyes,’ like ‘Late Night Lover,’ stands out in part because of its upbeat musical arrangement. The arrangement — complete with horns and drums — throws back to the Motown sounds of days long ago. There are hints in this arrangement, of The Temptations, The Four Tops and other similar acts that are certain to appeal to a wide range of listeners. The firm foundation formed by the song’s old school arrangement is just part of what makes the song stand out. Its equally accessible lyrical content, which once again focuses on the familiar topic of love found, is just as certain as the song’s arrangement to find wide appeal.
Radney sings in the song’s lead verse, “Oh boy, this happy Sunday/Left at home/to dry my eyes/I fell…on Friday/When his eyes/They met mine/Why’s a girl like me/With a boy like you/Mama always said/A fool can’t be true/Why’s a girl like me/With a boy like you/Mama always said/A fool can’t be true/Well as I met mine/And we danced all night/He left me home/To dry my eyes.” She adds in the song’s second verse, “I woke up to tequila sunrise/Next his hands were up my thighs/I woke up feeling a bottle/But he was gone to my surprise/Why’s a girl like me/With a boy like you/Mama always said a fool can’t be true/Why’s a girl like me/With a boy like you/Mama always said/A fool can’t be true/As his eyes met mine/And we danced all night/He gave me hope /To dry my eyes. This is a celebratory statement. It is someone who has found that special other person after having been down for such a long time, and is simply exploding (metaphorically speaking) with happiness. That is illustrated so well by the song’s equally celebratory arrangement, which boasts so much fire and energy. When the two elements are coupled, they create a whole in this case that is without argument another example of what makes The Blurred Odyssey a clear success for The Sh-Booms. It is just one more of the many songs that can be cited to support that statement, too. ‘Drop ‘Em Dead’ is one more example of what makes the album in whole stand out.
Where ‘Late Night Lover’ and ‘Dry Eyes’ boast a clearly old-school R&B influence, ‘Drop ‘Em Dead’ lends itself to comparisons to works from famed guitarist Dick Dale, who is listed on the group’s official Facebook page as one of its influences, along with Aretha Franklin and other famed acts. What’s really interesting here is that the band took that Dick Dale influence and coupled it with its R&B influences to make a whole that stands out (and quite well at that) on its own merits. The whole in itself, is more than enough evidence of what makes the song stand out among the album’s 10 total entries. Of course one would be remiss to ignore the song’s lyrical content in examining the song along with the song’s musical content.
The song’s lyrical content The lyrics are slightly difficult to decipher without a lyrics sheet to reference. However, from what can be deciphered, it can be inferred that this song, lyrically, is a loud, proud statement of self-confidence. Radney seems to sing something to the effect of “You got the story/I got the truth/I am the rubber/You are the glue…I’m gonna put up a fight” in the song’s lead verse. There is little else to the song in terms of lyrics. From that point on, listeners get repeated refrains of “I’m gonna drop ‘em dead” throughout the remainder of the song. It would seem that from that single verse and the repeated refrains, that this song is lyrically a work that is one of those musical middle fingers to naysayers as a refusal to give in and give up. It is certain to become one a fan favorite. When it is considered alongside ‘Dry Eyes’ and ‘Late Night Lover,’ this trio of songs in itself more than shows what makes The Blurred Odyssey a strong new offering from The Sh-Booms. When they are considered along with the seven remaining songs that make up the rest of the album, the whole of the record becomes an LP that is a clear success for the band. It is available now. More information on The Blurred Odyssey is available online along with The Sh-Booms’ tour schedule, news and more at:
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