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Shill

Shillstrumentals: Music for a Peaceful Land
Tzgani

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The title of this debut CD from Shill is a bit misleading -- the songs are neither instrumental nor particularly tranquil. Instead, these guys seem to have grown up in the shadow of local heavies such as Don Caballero and then Creta Bourzia, and have absorbed their math-rock and melodic tendencies, as well as more than a few of the latest emo and pop-punk anthems from the Warped Tour. Though potentially appealing to both the older indie crowd and the mall brigade, the songs here don't stand out as distinct to any crowd in particular.

At least, songs such as "Change Last Forever," "Pt. II Gazing," and "Path of Least Resistance" contain a range of varied change-ups, from a straight-ahead pop section to a mathy build-up; arena-rock guitar solo to soaring emotional chorus with screamo backing vocals. (The production clarity of Andy Wright from Plus/Minus doesn't hurt either.) But these tracks sound so much like a mix of other bands (not the least of which is Creta Bourzia -- the band even includes a snippet of a Creta song in a radio-collage interlude) that it's hard to make much of a case for originality.

It isn't very encouraging that Shill admits in the liner notes to looking for guidance to radio station "The X" -- the last place you'd turn to carve out your own niche would be the bland domain of comm-alt radio. Plus, there's nary a lyric sheet in sight, which is strange -- why wouldn't they want the kids to sing along? The kids may eventually get on board, though, once Shill stakes out more of its own musical territory.

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