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.
// Notes from the Road
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