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CD Review: The Shivers deliver more than just goosebumps on Phone Calls

By Erin Shea
On April 12, 2007

04/12/07 - On the Brooklyn-based Shivers' quirky new album, Phone Calls, the band changes record labels to protect its artistic creativity and what they call "the movement" that is its own slowly growing success. The Shivers have a very distinctive sound that's hard to pin down to one specific style, which lands the band in the broad and blurry "indie rock" category. Phone Calls may be classified as a rock album, but it has some definite country and blues overtones as well as 1980s influences.

Don't let it discourage you if you aren't a fan of these styles though, because, believe me, I am not by any means a country fan, and I loved the album.

Keith Zarriello, the band's controversial lead singer and guitarist, as well as the only permanent member of the band, has said its sound is a mix of "film music, hip-hop, soul, rock, jazz [and] blues."

Phone Calls is indeed an eclectic album, drawing inspiration from a myriad of sources.

Zarriello has a refreshingly straight-forward lyrical style that gives the album a beautiful simplicity that most recent albums seem to lack. It also lends itself to some very quotable lyrics.

One of my favorite quotes from the album is from "Love is Good," in which Zarriello innocently sings, "Love will love you even if you won't."

However, just because the lyrics are usually simple doesn't mean the album is free of eccentricities.

The opening track exemplifies this, starting out as a purely instrumental track until the very end, when a phone call starts up in the background. The song ends on a "hello" from the call.

One of the album's standout tracks, "Half Invisible," showcases Zarriello's love for unexpected twists. Toward the end the song, it unexpectedly becomes a cover of "Patience" by Guns N Roses. This kind of spontaneity is what makes Phone Calls an album worthy of being more than just background noise

Although it is a great album, like most of the quirkier albums out there, it is not devoid of missteps. The most glaring of these occurs on "Rock and Roll Love."

The song seemingly ends, only to begin a completely unrelated instrumental section a second later, ending the song on a rather confusing note.

Phone Calls is currently on sale, the Shivers is planning a North American tour this August. Check out the band's MySpace at www.myspace.com/shiversnyc, or Outer Borough Records' Web site at www.outerboroughrecords.com, for more information.


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