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Shmat's Reviews
For more reviews, please visit Palebear which is where all future Shmat reviews will appear (as of March 2006).

The Sewing Circle
S/T (CD-R)

Studio time is a big waste of money. So goes the quote on the insert of this CD-R. The Shmat thinks there is some truth to that statement in some cases. A better quote might be: "Studio time is a big waste of money for SOME people." Certainly this band, made up of two cousins Preston and Chase, doesn't need the studio time to get their point(s) across. If The Sewing Circle isn't the second coming of Half Japanese, then the Shmat will eat his hat. Seriously. Sixteen wildy irreverent songs filled with samples, tape speedups and slowdowns, and crazily spoken vocals. These are songs that have been heavily injected with copious noise. Popfiends, would you be able to listen all the way through without ? Maybe, but of course the Shmat has a high tolerance for experimental things like this. He quite enjoyed several of the tracks, including the absolutely bonkers 37-second intro "Zap!", "Apparition Over Nuremberg" (with it's nearly fartdelicious horn solo and tape manipulations), the shanty-like, acoustic "Autumn Thylacine Sighting", and the drony Scottish "Gardenias". The a la carte spoken "Punchbowl" reminds him of Daniel Johnston. Upping the ante, "Three Little Fishies" might even qualify for the Dr. Demento show (Fishheads, roly poly fishheads) But behind all the madness is actually some decent acoustic, and the Shmat even dares to say, folky songs. "The Condition" and "I Am The Bogman" fit the bill quite well. "Thin Grey Cat" could be Robyn Hitchcock or Syd Barrett. Shmat thinks that at worst, you'll never be bored with the disc. Very inventive and interesting. The Sewing Circle may have an overactive imagination, but the Shmat could think of worse ways to spend your Saturday afternoons than gathering in the bedroom for a little RR&R (rest, relaxation, and recording). As they say in Hawaii: good fun!

- review by SHMAT (9.18.04)        

Preston Spurlock

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