Review by P. Freako
Something good always comes from unfortunate situations. The demise of Canadian hipsters Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet was indeed sad, but from the rubble comes Phono-Comb. Ex-Shadowy Men bassist Reid Diamond and drummer Don Pyle have joined forces with guitarist Dallas Good to create this new space-driven incarnation. For their first full-length project they pulled in the legendary Jad Phair. An underground, manic hero south of the border, Jad Phair is probably one of the few people who, if forced to draw at the songwriters corral, could probably write more songs in 5 minutes than could the Ramones. He's quick, boy, be afraid. The combination of this slick musical background and the spontaneous rantings of this street poet take our minds to that shadowy planet and the more you listen, the more mysteries of the universe present themselves to you. This creates a love/hate relationship with Monsters, Lullabies... You can listen to it and think to yourself, "too cool" and listen to it an hour later and just not get it. You'll have to remember, the universe is a big place, you won't experience it in one mere journey.
As I traveled through the galaxies of what is Monsters, Lullabies..., I recognized Early B-52's with Fred Schneider singing "Rock Lobster" to a pseudo warped 50's theme. I don't know if it was the lack of atmospheric pressure, but Jad's style also reminded me of The Dead Milkmen because he's got a whiny voice at times and when you get past that you realize you just don't know what the hell he's talking about. Throughout Monsters, Lullabies... you will hear the unmistakable pop quirkiness of the Shadowy Men, laden with ultra catchy bass and guitar riffs playing softly on the third moon of Venus. You will know that this is Shadowy Men Alumni right away. Their style is unforgettable and hasn't changed much. The added dimension of Jad Phair however is another story. I'm not really sure what he's ever talking about, ...9...10...11...12..., but hey, who cares? This album is going to bring out a love/hate relationship with the universe. Some things you'll hear one time and really get into it and then other times you'll hear the exact same thing and come out feeling empty. As I said before you can't experience the universe in one mere journey, but you'll go back again and again and Jad sums it up himself early in the CD, "too sweet to be forgotten...9...10...11...12."
SHAKE the Record Label, 598 Victoria C.P. 36587 St. Lambert, Québec, J4P 3S8, Canada
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