The Sad Thing Is, We Like It Here
Immediately upon receiving the album, “The Sad Thing Is, We Like It Here”, I had a good vibe. With a title like that, the music’s GOTTA be good, right? And indeed, as soon as I hit the play button on my old but trusty Walkman, I was treated to a catchy rhythm that grabbed my attention with the very first notes. Melodic guitar work, strong on the piano, and then the singer introduces us to the band Shaimus. His voice makes me think of the singer from Coldplay and the beginning track has a poppy beat that gets my foot tapping. I enjoy the lyrics of the opening track as well. “Do you know what’s right or do you just believe?” That is a great line and “Interview” is an excellent song to open this album with. It leaves me anxious to hear more.
“Turn the Other Way” is another snappy little number with a beat that makes me want bounce as I walk. I enjoy this song very much and Shaimus does a fantastic job showcasing their talents, most particularly the vocals and the diverse playing methods the band members utilize in this track. There is a little bit of everything in this song and it flows well. The transitions are smooth and seamless and the production of this piece is exceptional.
Just when I thought I had Shaimus pegged, here comes “All the Good Ways” that starts off with a haunting guitar melody that I wasn’t expecting. This is a softer song that once more brings to mind Coldplay, but is clearly Shaimus through and through. There is some screaming guitar work in this track and it’s a rather positive and optimistic tune that makes me feel good. The more of this album that I hear, the more convinced I am becoming that this band is on the brink of breaking into mainstream music and becoming a household name. “All the Good Ways” should clearly be their first single.
“Tie You Down” picks up the pace again and this track does a great job highlighting the musical talent of this band. The vocals are great, indeed, but this piece allows the listener to truly understand just how talented the musicians in Shaimus are. As in “Turn the Other Way”, there is much happening in this track and I am treated to several different genres in one song. The band does a phenomenal job blending all of the different layers and sounds of “Tie You Down” into a masterpiece of musical genius that is guaranteed to please even the pickiest of listeners.
A tropical guitar lick and some nice piano work begin the next song, “Heads or Tails”, and it has a definite reggae feel to it. This melodic and soothing tune shows a side of Shaimus that I have not experienced yet, and I am once again astounded by the plethora of styles that this band is capable of. “Heads or Tails” showcases the vocal talent of the singer and I enjoy his voice very much in this piece. The placement of this song on the album is a good choice as well. It comes at the halfway point, and the listener is intrigued by the mellow reggae-esque feel of this tune and begins to wonder what other sort of tricks Shaimus has up their sleeves.
”Don’t Want the Story” is heavier than the previous track, yet just as melodic with a beat that grooves and stellar musicianship. The lyrics are especially good too, and I am becoming more and more enamored with the singer’s voice. This track really gives the listener a nice solid dose of what the singer can do, and the backing vocals are nicely done as well. As with all the preceding tracks on the album, “Don’t Want the Story” is exceedingly well engineered and produced and the sound is very clear and crisp.
“Let Go” is a welcome change, and again, I must say the placement of the songs on the album is well thought out. The melancholy piano notes at the beginning of this song certainly move something inside me. The rest of the instruments come into play as this track unfolds, but I can still hear the piano clearly, which enforces the fact that the production of this album is beyond professional quality. The piano is essential to this piece, and Shaimus does a wonderful job of not making it too obvious, and likewise, not making it sound muddy beneath the other layers. “Let Go” also has some rather deep lyrics and I hope the listeners don’t get so caught up in the song itself that they overlook the lyrics, because that would be a shame. This song is my personal favorite so far and Shaimus has yet to let me down. “Let Go” is haunting and deep, and I think I might be falling in love with these guys.
Shaimus gave us their soft side in the previous track, and now they give us their gritty side in “Like a Fool.” There is a jazzy, bluesy vibe to this one, and I can picture people dancing around a very large ballroom as Shaimus plays on into the wee hours of the night. The singer gives us his all in this track and the musicianship is beyond anything I’ve heard as of yet. Everyone is in synch, there is not one missed note or beat, and the singer gives us balls to the wall wailing while still maintaining his signature melodic style. “Like a Fool” is quite possibly the most intricate track on the album, and Shaimus does it well. Nice.
“While We’re Young” takes it down a notch and it begins with soft tones and quiet vocals. The guitar in this piece is addictive and we hear the catch phrase “The sad thing is we like it here.” This is a slow song that is somewhat sad and I get a sense of mourning while listening to this one, but Shaimus isn’t about to let us cry in our beer. There is still an upbeat rhythm that brings us out of our reverie and keeps us from going too deep inside ourselves. Shaimus does a great job harmonizing during this song and even though it may be a rather sad and melancholy song, I begin to feel energized and optimistic towards the end, which is extremely well done. Shaimus is preparing to bid us a fond adieu, and they are sending us on our way with accolades.
The final song of the album is called “Stuck Around” and Shaimus is not about to send us on our way without giving us one more stellar performance. The hand clapping and piano is a nice way to kick this one off, and “Stuck Around” has a bit of a retro vibe to it that makes me want to swirl around in a poodle skirt and saddle shoes. The guitar completely rocks, the vocals are great, and the song is polished and well done. I, too, wish Shaimus could stick around.
The album “The Sad Thing Is, We Like It Here” was a pleasure for me to listen to and I don’t see anything sad about being here with Shaimus. The band took me on one hell of a ride through several different musical genres and a wide range of diverse talent. Their sound is original, the musicians are obviously quite talented, and the singer’s voice will forever be with me. Not only are the songs themselves amazing, but the overall sound quality of the album is exceptional. The production and engineering was clearly done by someone who is very talented and who knows how to make great music sound even better. I am looking forward to more fantastic albums from Shaimus, and I would be absolutely delighted to see them perform live. I am quite confident that they sound just as great live as they do in the studio, and if the band ever tours in my neck of the woods, you can rest assured that I will be there, front and center. Cheers.
Review by Rhonda Readence