The best album from an unsigned local Los Angeles band that I’ve EVER heard!
Omigod! Where do I begin with this record? Yes, I call it a record cause so much of the songs remind me of my favorite sounds from the 80s and back then, they made records. I can’t completely alienate the CD and iPod crowd so rest assured that this near perfect release from Amy, Devin and Brandon (otherwise known as Shitting Glitter) is very much planted with both feet in the 21st century.
First of all, before I begin my indepth study (I like that word better than review) everyone needs to get over the name Shitting Glitter and get to the music and their shamen like, fantastically frantic and gorgeously deranged madness that is the storytelling magic of the uber-sexual, haunting, slutty and intelligent psycho punk pop threesome! It’s all a top notch affair and all with a heapin’ helpin’ of new wave thrown in just for good measure.
‘Free Alongside Ship’ is the name of the game and what a title it is. Mysterious, deep and wrought with philosophy of a modern age. From the first sounds of the opening track ‘Mondo Di Corpo’, I was hypnotized and brought aboard their journey and oh what a journey it was…I mean is. As the song begins, sounds echo into focus and a dark human league sounding keyboard drones into the forefront.
To me, this beginning took me to a fog drenched pier overlooking the ocean at night. Out of the fog I could hear the echoes of music but couldn’t see anything. Only when Devin’s synth grew into focus did a haunted, vintage yacht come out of the mist. Standing atop the evil ghost ship were the band…a macabre and motley bunch of undead misfits, complete with instruments and mics, sending their music out to win over the souls of the living. They won over my soul from the first note. “There’s something wrong with the monster.” Very much indeed…and I love it!
The haunting and brooding ‘Mondo Di Corpo’ creeps into ‘The Curse’ which has remnants of B52’s, The Cure, X, Missing Persons and Berlin strewn all about the place and amazingly, it’s all a cohesive brand of genius. Just when you think you’ve got the sound of Shitting Glitter down tight like an airtight coffin, ‘Ladyslipper’ comes along to turn you on your ass and continue on this most fantastic voyage. Luscious hemispheres of dreamland prevail. Sounds like Siouxsie, Lush and Cocteau Twins come to mind in this gem of a song. The dueling vocal stylings between Amy and Devin on ‘Ladyslipper’ are a slice of pure heaven and were a drug I couldn’t refuse.
“I’m Feelin’ Really Horny” opens the six minute dance epic ‘Slut Buffet’ and it doesn‘t let up with it‘s sexual delivery of delicious, slutty, magnetic energy both musically and lyrically. Brandon’s guitar playing is like the perfect homage to the late Ricky Wilson from the B52’s in style and performance as well as the genius that is Dave Navarro (back when he was in Jane’s Addiction that is). During the extended dance remix part of the song, it’s done in vintage 80’s style with all of the original musical elements intact! After the long instrumental break, you realize that Amy’s voice was nowhere to be found which is a nice and refreshing surprise considering she’s all over the record. It’s nice to hear a band just groove for a bit without the vocalist(s) getting in the way.
‘Guaranteed Used’ tells a provocative and serious story of prejudice in the bowels of America. With Brandon’s guitar leading the way, Amy on vocals, Devin on backing vox and keys and his beloved drum machine laying the hard edged groove, this song is anything but guaranteed used. Guaranteed NEW is more like it.
‘Dichotomy’ is an amazing song where Amy lets loose, Devin takes his key strokes to a new level and Brandon does another cool ass guitar chord change that left me wanting more. The more came with Devin’s Ray Manzanerek style solo followed by Brandon using Ricky Wilson’s spirit (again) to create one unforgettable riff. Think vintage Doors, B52s and Missing Persons all dumped into a blender, mixed up and poured into a tall glass. Let’s call the drink ’Dichotomy’. The threesome who wrote the recipe? Shitting Glitter…who else!
‘Guerilla’ begins with some distortion and looped guitar and Amy’s cough. Hilarious and right on. The song begins sparse with Brandon laying another fresh guitar chord change and Amy doing a sing/rap kind of delivery. The groove picks up speed with Devin’s key playing, backing vox and up tempo drums. Then it falls off in an echo leaving Amy to voice her frustration. I love the part about tripping over the same curb where Amy adds a vocal effect of someone tripping. The song picks up the tempo and continues to an ending that is all Brandon’s killer guitar playing and the trusty drum machine.
‘Incomparable White Six’. The first time I heard that title back on their previous E.P., I thought it about a certain part of a male’s anatomy. This new, sparser version has to be my favorite song on the album. The subtle and sexy mix of Amy’s vocals, Devin’s keys and Brandon’s chunky guitar is a daft and genius mix of The Cars and a female driven Fischerspooner. A masterpiece!
‘High and Tight’ is one sensual song. Amy takes her voice down a notch or three for this one with Devin backing her with a bit of vox and electric piano. Brandon’s uses a slinky guitar approach and the combination of it all is very intoxicating. But, don’t let the soft beginning fool you because when you least expect it, the drums jump the track and begin an assault on the senses. Mixed with Brandon’s guitar put through a distortion pedal and Amy’s vocals seemingly coming out of a megaphone, it’s enough to make one’s heart skip a beat. The song is fantabulous and various artists came to mind as possible influences for the sound: Ani DeFranco, The Breeders and Throwing Muses.
‘R So’ is about a registered sex offender and it’s a rockin’ new wave-ish romp with Amy, Brandon and Devin letting it loose like a pack of wild dogs. It’s a song you could hear in a place like CBGBs in New York. Mad, bad and dangerous to know!
‘Grady’ is the most relaxed and restrained song on the album. The added flute (courtesy of Devin), with added wailing guitar later on (courtesy of Brandon) takes the song to a deeper level. It’s a most serious subject the song tackles and the beautiful and mature way the band handle the affair is stunning.
‘Static Cling’ begins with just Devin on keys…Pure new wave but with bite. Then Brandon kicks in with a great guitar groove. Devin adds some cool piano sounds and last but not least is Amy…her voice a deeper tone than normal. They take you on a very comfortable ride with this one and it’s a mix of rock, funk and wave.
‘The Amnesty Party’. Brandon’s acoustic guitar approach on this is very folky and very cool. Add to that Amy’s most original and bad-ass voice and you’ve got the most elegant and touching song on the album. “Free Alongside Ship” is part of the chorus and listening to this song will make you want to find that “ship”. The added percussion and Devin on keys and backing vox helps take the listener on a complete and otherworldy journey to the heavens and back.
Shitting Glitter have crafted a masterpiece here. ‘Free Alongside Ship’ is the best album from an unsigned local Los Angeles band that I’ve EVER heard. There’s nothing wrong with it. Very original and a must have. The production by the threesome of Devin, Amy and Brandon, along with the stellar “textural treatments, co-production, mixing and mastering” by Hoagie Hill from Seamonster Sounds is flawless on this album. Buy it…NOW. Run…Don’t walk!