The Shacks write perfect pop songs with an effortless cool. You probably heard “This Strange Effect” from their debut 10” in that Apple commercial a few months back, and the young NYC band are finally capitalizing on their momentum with their debut long player on Big Crown Records. Max Shrager’s virtuoso guitar playing and Shannon Wise’s angelic voice practically write the songs themselves. Their partnership, which dates back to high school (not that long actually; Wise and Shrager are only 19 and 21, respectively), is so solid that the first song they ever wrote together appears here as side 1 track 1, and they even named the album after it. Haze is a life-affirming blend of girl group charm, Brian Wilson’s psych pop, Spector-style rock & roll and the indie chic of classic New York bands like Blonde Redhead and Galaxie 500. Production duties are shared by Shrager and Leon Michels, and Haze sounds like it came out of the same analog hit factory as Lee Fields’ excellent Special Night and all those killer El Michels Affair records. The Shacks don’t let any sort of dusty nostalgia carry the record, but the production does render it timeless. It’s the compelling songwriting, plus their deftness at their own instruments (proven by their performance at the Haze release show at our East Village storefront) and Wise’s sugary, hair-raising voice that makes Haze such a thrill. Check out “Follow Me,” “Nobody, Nobody,” “Birds,” “Blue & Grey” and “Sleeping.”
- digital download included
- music label: Big Crown Records 2018
reviewed by big dumb man 04/2018
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