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J.P. Shilo

As Happy as Sad Is Blue

(Smells Like Records; US: 10 Oct 2006; UK: 23 Oct 2006)

J.P. Shilo, also known as John Brooks, might be best known for his work in Hungry Ghosts. Here, he has resurrected what could conjure images of ghosts and ghouls on the eerie and mysterious “Earth-Sinking-into-Water” that would fit perfectly into any spooky, scary movie. (I’m sounding like SCTV’s Count Floyd, apologies.)  Combining shorter pieces with longer ones, Shilo marches on with the eclectic, shoegazer-tinged “Water-Sinking-into-Fire”, which dies far too quickly. The cheesy, Zombies-ish title track makes one long for a rerun of The Munsters, while “Begone Dull Care” is pure Parisian café. Each song carries a tension that is palpable, but never breaks the surface, as is the case with the violin or cello-led “La Sirena”. The guitars go a bit nutty for the Link Wray-ish “(      ) Up My Sleeve” but are much calmer and tranquil for “The Sea Has Done a Number on Me”. Shilo has captured this rather fine line between tension and tedium judging by the ominous “Grave”, which should be greeting any child on Halloween. It is not the sort of album to have for dinner parties or background music at a child’s birthday party.

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Originally from Cape Breton, MacNeil is currently writing for the Toronto Sun as well as other publications, including All Music Guide, Billboard.com, NME.com, Country Standard Time, Skope Magazine, Chart Magazine, Glide, Ft. Myers Magazine and Celtic Heritage. A graduate of the University of King's College, MacNeil currently resides in Toronto. He has interviewed hundreds of acts ranging from Metallica and AC/DC to Daniel Lanois and Smokey Robinson. MacNeil (modestly referred to as King J to friends), a diehard Philadelphia Flyers fan, has seen the Rolling Stones in a club setting, thereby knowing he will rest in peace at some point down the road. Oh, and he writes for PopMatters.com.


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