I Oughtta Give You a Shot in the Head is a fitting title for Shivaree’s first album. The record truly is a blow to the brain; an amalgam of far-reaching influences and smartly composed pop songs (think Aimee Mann), it should be great. Instead, it is average, often marred by tunes that are a little too relaxed and/or ordinary. Still, it is quite a fun listen. Shivaree is made up of a newbie female lead singer named Ambrosia Parsley, along with veteran musicians who have played with the likes of Exene Cervenka, Tom Waits, and Harvey Sid Fisher. This odd mix, coupled with the fact that the band will try just about anything that compells them, makes for a very cool aural experience.
There are a few tracks on I Oughtta Give You… that stand tall above the other, more typical fare. “Bossa Nova” opens with the clever lines, “Well I think I hate you / Isn’t this fun?” and segues into being an incredibly cool, well-composed anti-love song. The instrumentation is odd in the good way, a driving beat with just a tad bit of distortion and perfectly placed sound effects. “Dirty Lousy Guy” proceeds to groove and grind, a perfect kiss-off tune. “Goodnight Moon” is a tall, cool, welcome drink, and is utterly sublime.
I Oughtta Give You a Shot in the Head is not essential. But Shivaree are a band that should be watched, as they are capable of great things. It will be interesting to see where they go in the future.