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The Shilohs

So Wild

(Light Organ; US: 5 Feb 2013; UK: 25 Jun 2013)

On “Get Ready Now”, the first proper song on Vancouver’s the Shilohs’ new album So Wild, the band sings about a turntable spinning, about hearing an “old, old, old lover’s song.” It’s a fitting introduction to an album and band very much steeped in sounds of the past. Their pop songs recall everything from Laurel Canyon country-rock to ‘60s Brit-pop and other similar musical threads. They recall Muswell Hillbillies-era Kinks on “Man of the Times”, for example, or even early Beatles on “Little Valentine”. The Shilohs prove deft at approximating these sounds of the past, though they often do it in service of boilerplate love songs. “When I’m feeling sad, I just think of you and then I’m glad,” goes “The Place Where Nobody Knows I Go”, and it never gets much more complicated than that. These are sweet enough tunes, but they don’t feel distinct. The sound is one of the past, the words a collection of sentiments we’ve heard before. The playing here is tight, the vocal melodies solid, sometimes even striking, but it’s hard to know what the Shilohs are about, aside from borrowing from what came before. In the end, So Wild borrows its wildness from others and comes off sounding tame.

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Matthew Fiander is a music critic for PopMatters and Prefix Magazine. He also writes fiction and his work has appeared in The Yalobusha Review. He received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from UNC-Greensboro and currently teaches writing and literature at High Point University in High Point, NC. You can follow him on Twitter at @mattfiander.


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The Shilohs - "The Place Where Nobody Knows I Go"
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