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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 Sha-pels
Nights of Malta (CD-R)

I really wasn't too sure what to write about this band from Chattannooga, TN called The Sha-Pels. First of all they sent me their Nights of Malta CD-R in some crazy homemade cardboard press kit with all these cutouts and photocopies taped all over the place. I almost was going to xerox it for posterity's sake because it looked so crazy, but it wouldn't really fit on the scanner too well. I thought it was going to be screamo hardcore punk. But it turned out much better (or worse depending on your tastes I guess). As noisy, instrumental pseudo-jazz music, it's quite decent stuff to just put on the stereo and just leave on in the background while doing some work around the house. It's not modern like Tortoise or Album Leaf, but neither is it plain sucker music like Kenny G or John Tesh. What I like about it is that it's heavy rock noodling populated with irreverent tenor saxophone lines, sort of like the band Morphine but furiously hyped up on crack. Nice, two drug references in one shot. What I didn't like it was the occasional tendency for metal guitar like solos. Well, they do make reference of Sabbath and Mr. Bungle as influences. When the solos are kept in check, the music is pretty good, a sort of heavy soup blend of atonal psych rock and jazz tendencies. OK there, I think I've hit my sound bite quota for the day.

- review by SHORTY (2.22.05)        

The Sha-Pels

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