She, Sir: Who Can’t Say Yes (Waterloo Records; End of the Year Records, 2006)
She, Sir is from the city that wants to be “kept weird,” Austin, Texas. Consisting of Russell Karloff, M. Grusha, Ferrick Hallaron IV, and James Behslage, She, Sir brings a wonderful blend of shoegaze elements and songwriting to their recording. Started by Grusha and Karloff in 2000 at Iowa State University and moved to Austin in 2005. The compositions contain walls of sound and beautifully embedded vocals. Who Can’t Say Yes is their debut EP and bodes well for future releases.
“I Love You, Blowtorch Eyes” begins the disc with a mid-tempo tune that has glimmering guitars and subtle bass and drum work. The vocals really bring the track together with echoing, restrained perfection. The movement of the piece is enduring and captivating. The guitar tones are stunning and the mix perfection. This leads into “Lieutenant.” Blasts of guitar walls come through the speakers as embedded vocals whisper amidst the banging of drums and the driving bass. Shimmering into silence, “You Can’t Change a Thing” starts with a mid-tempo guitar over drums and bass. The rhythm is changed brilliantly throughout with nice variations and the guitar tuning is interesting and captivating. Knowing that Grusha and Karloff both have degrees in classical and contemporary music composition, the subtleness of the variation and depth of their writing makes sense. They are never too busy, never too rushed, and they never allow the song to get away from them.
“The Clandestine” begins in much the same way as “Lieutenant,” with fuzzed out walls of sound punctuated with strong snare. This changes as an odd timing comes into the fore and really makes the song unique. The vocals are slow and cautious as the snare begins to march through the song and ride and cymbal fill the airwaves. She, Sir definitely joins my “pleasant surprises of ‘06” along with The Daysleepers. Both bring such finesse to their shoegaze art and they explore great, intricate compositions. “It’s My Way of Staying Connected” begins by showcasing drum and bass. Then, glittering guitars begin to fill the speakers. Haunting vocals croon in the midst of the instruments. The song peters out with guitar groans that echo and fade. This leads to “Monarch,” which has a light, breathy fell to it. The vocals act as an instrument as clashing cymbals and soaring guitars contribute to a beautifully done wall of sound. “Prairie Burn” brings a Cure< feel through the bass and drums. Then, the wonderfully glittering guitars come in with the soft vocals. What this E.P. once again proves to me is that shoegaze is far from dead. Beautiful, original compositions in the genre are still being produced and She, Sir makes that abundantly clear.
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