Tim Rayne’s Mini-Review: Shifty Bits – Shifty Bits Cult (EP)
This EP is a sampler, a taste and demonstration of range this collective brings to the fore. – an unapologetic assault of the senses. Believe me, you will thank them for it.
Last winter, the Shift Bits crew held a notable music festival at Gallery Connections in Fredericton. Unfortunately for me I was out of town, because the hype that followed from various friends who attended made it clear I missed one of the concert highlights of the year. I can’t attend too many live shows because of work and family commitments so I truly feel lucky when I get a chance to see a ‘Live’ band play live. I have only seen Motherhood and Maiden Names play live from this collective and both bands thrive on stage. In fact, Maiden Names’ show in particular is a must see. I heard the Maiden Names EP before I ever saw them on stage. I liked their sound of dirt rock/stoner metal fusion, but it wasn’t until I heard them live that I truly caught and appreciated their sound. They are now one of my favourite LIVE bands.
The Shifty Bits are a group of musicians who collaborate under the Shifty Bits Cult moniker. Motherhood, Waking Night, Maiden Names and Kurtis Eugene are the bands/artist that take part in this eclectic sampler EP set of diddies. The musicians are playful and experimental while remaining accessible and catchy – not as easy as it sounds. However, each band has their own distinguishable sound and inspiration. The 4 Song EP starts with my personal favourite track entitled Out to Long by Kurtis Eugene who incorporates a moody, slow burning blues sound that brings a psychedelic tinge when combined with his powerful vocals that could be compared to Jeff Buckley – if he smoked a bowl after coming back from the dead. The second track, White as Milk by Maiden Names is a great rock’n song that is up-tempo with a classic rock aesthetic in a low-fi recording. The song is great but I have a beef with the actual recording. The lo-fi element is part of the band’s charm and the band does not require a clean production to sound better, but I have yet to hear a recording that can exemplify or match the strength of their live sound. Don’t get me wrong, Maiden Names is one of my favourite local bands but I want to be able to show them to my friends on my home stereo. Motherhood’s song The News is layered with great harmonies and with some of their best production to date. This song showcases the bands campyness and even, in the last minute, what could be interpreted as a black metal homage. The final track on the EP is by Waking Night entitled Change, it has a country-rock-blues flavour with a little Jim James for good measure. Overall, solid EP from a collective that loves to be challenging while having fun making great music. A collective of true artists who underplay their artistic ambitions without losing face. This is a Sampler and it is just that, a sample. Check out more music from these guys from bandcamp; however, the REAL experience should be shared in a live setting.