In some ways this is the perfect debut album, sparkling with wit, invention and some truly memorable pop tunes.
-Rock and Reel
After releasing an EP in 2006, indie pop tunesmith Ari Shine has issued his debut full-length, the quite catchy A Force of One. Killer opening track “Cooler Than Me” channels early Elvis Costello through 21st century indie rock. The major influence of Costello permeates the whole record, in fact, although to varying degrees. “She Wants It (More Than Me)”, another great cut, has a more straightforward rock ‘n’ roll appeal, while still retaining Shine’s indefatigable pop instincts. “Flirtation Device” is radio-friendly AAA and wouldn’t be out of place on a Semisonic album. The sneering “Party People”, meanwhile, possesses the same dark disco appeal as the latest Of Montreal. The waltz-time title track reminds us that Elvis is king in Ari Shine’s world. Fortunately, the dude’s got the chops to pull it off. As his press material emphasizes, Ari won the John Lennon songwriting contest. He’s a good singer, too, delivering with skill and just enough of a bitter attitude to sell his songs of relationships gone wrong. On A Force of One, Ari Shine is a force to be reckoned with.
Musical trends come and go, but some things never go completely out of style, and good power pop is one of them. Cheap Trick will probably never again achieve anything close to the chart positions they enjoyed in the late '70s, and Fastball will probably never come close to those heights of popularity at all -- but Cheap Trick will keep selling out venues as long as they keep touring, and you'll keep hearing Fastball on the radio. If those names make the rock lobe of your brain tingle, then you'll want to run to your computer and immediately order a copy of Ari Shine's A Force of One. Like the Rocket Summer, Shine plays all the instruments himself and sings almost all the parts, but he never falls prey to the one-man band sickness -- that low-grade fever that afflicts somebody like Prince when no one is around to tell him he's being a dork, and that shuts down the part of his brain that can tell the difference between brilliance and self-indulgence. Shine is all about tight song structures, sharply observed lyrics, and focused hooks -- and if his hooks don't bite quite as deeply as those of some of his colleagues, his songs are still plenty of good fun. Even if you don't walk away from A Force of One singing any of the choruses obsessively, you'll have a great time listening to the widgety '70s synthesizer on "Beat U," the wry humor of "She Wants It (More Than Me)," and the cheerfully cheesy house-ska of "Party People." Definitely worth a listen.
Rick Anderson - All Music Guide
Shine is a confessed Sparks fanatic so it makes sense that his album was produced by early Sparks alumnus, Earle Mankey. Indeed, there is some of that smart prog-pop here but he's a little earthier than art-pop, sounding occasionally like Matthew Sweet or Big Star.
Tom Harrison - The Province
Opening the proceedings is three tracks from Los Angeles-based Ari Shine, two of which from his upcoming debut 'Force of One' out in July. Opener 'Cooler Than Me' is reminiscent of US pop/punk band Simple Plan and 'Flirtation Device' seems to have influences deeply implanted in 1980's electro-synth. Shine is an artist who seems to have an impressive ability to create addictive pop hooks; don't be surprised to hear more from him later in the year.
Elsewhere, LA-based newcomer ARI SHINE demonstrates that Bongo Beat's antenna remains reliable where new signings are concerned. Shine contributes three tunes to this sampler and the chewy, riffsmart arrogance and sunshine combination of songs such as 'Crank It Out' and the lippy 'Cooler Than Me' prove to be instantly likeable whacks to the gut for fans of early Costello and the Knack/ Raspberries school of gritty, radio-friendly guitar pop. Shine has been laying down his sussed choons with legendary LA producer Earle Mankey (Sparks, Dickies, millions more) and even when synths and beatboxes accompany the chugging guitars - as on the wicked 'Flirtation Device' - he's onto a winner. Remember his name.
-Whisperin' and Hollerin