Saturday, November 22, 2008

Shorebirds - "Shorebirds" 7'' review

A few weeks ago, I came across a MySpace band site and had never heard of them, but something caught my eye.
"What's that say? Jawbreaker?! Latterman? Damn, I didn't know any of those guys were doing anything with music anymore. I thought they called it quits!" (And then I came to realize after reading the band's description on No Idea's site that it sounds like Shorebirds isn't even a band anymore).
I saw Chris Bauermeister from Jawbreaker's name along with Matt Canino, vocalist of Latterman, on that site, which belonged to a band called "Shorebirds." Immediately I gave it a listen and it was love at first sight (so to speak, of course).
Canino from Latterman does the vocals for Shorebirds, by the way. So if you like Latterman, Shorebirds will be to you like The Broadways sound to Lawrence Arms fans. Or how The Mopes are to the Methadones. You get the picture.
Track one on the 7'' is called "DOA," and it's about getting older and waiting around. Canino outlines pretty well the uncertainties about passing the time. Between the strong, steady power chords and the slowed-down note playing and fluctuation in Canino's voice, you get a sense of helplessness. He's waiting around for his friends - it's out of his control. It keeps raining and raining - out of his control. He even talks about something we're all familiar with - trying to get a certain someone off your mind. That can be the hardest thing of all. My favorite part is the end, after Canino sings throughout the song about waiting for his friends. He finishes the song by saying, "My friends have shown up right at the front door." And that's when the music - and the waiting - stops and a new song begins.
Track two is called "Tinctures are 90% Alcohol." For those like myself who aren't quite sure what a tincture is, it's an alcohol solution of nonvolitile medicine such as a "tincture of iodine." It's also a color, like a tint or a pigment. Which is interesting because he could just be singing about blurry vision in this alcohol-soaked song.
This one radiates uncertainty and a bit of insecurity. Canino yells "I don't know what to do 'cause I can't stop thinking of you/I don't know where I'm gonna sleep floor is covered in beer." His words paint the scene of a party. Broken glass everywhere. Beer all over the floor. Not knowing where he's going to sleep that night and not being able to get someone off his mind. It sucks. But it's good to listen to. It really gave me an "Ah, so I'm not the only one, huh?" feeling. But the lyrics sound more than anything like Canino's trying to drink a girl away.
The third song, "People I Live With," is sad, in the way that you feel bad for Canino. This one's about walking around lots of people, not being able to identify or connect with anyone. Being ostracized. Outcasted against your will. He sings about not getting along with people he lives or works with. But he says he's only trying to survive. He sings about being ashamed and without admitting it, about hurting people he's loved. But the song is not a complete bummer and outpour of empathy on Canino's behalf. He redeems himself at the end of the song, mans up so to speak, repeats the chorus and adds, "I've done some things that I'm not too proud of/And you never want to hurt the people you love/Sometimes you gotta look them in the eye and apologize."
The last track, "Down in Denver," is a fast song - only 1:37 in length. It keeps the theme of helplessness, but in a more upbeat fashion. He sings about watching Denver decay and how when he was there, all he did was die. As pessimistic and negative as his words come off, Shorebirds is amazing. I can't stop listening to these guys and I recommend it to everyone. I'm addicted to that feeling I rarely get from bands that's like, "Hey. Shit's fucked up. I have a fucked up life. My friends are pretty fucked up too...and I don't know how to handle a lot of things." I'm addicted to the sense of belonging there; that huge gap of admitting things like that, and putting it to music is powerful to me. And therapeutic, in a way.
Fans of The Broadways, Hot Water Music, Latterman, The Draft and of course, Jawbreaker, need to check this 7'' out. Shorebirds hooked me real fast. Get it at No Idea Records for 3 bucks.

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