Published Nov 04, 2015One of the mad musical scientists behind psych-prog champions Zorch has expanded the vision of his solo side project to a full-fledged band endeavour. Sam Chown's third release under the Shmu moniker sees the pyrotechnic drummer/singer bend his recombinant gallimaufry of influences to the service of a rock format, albeit a loose and insistently experimental one.
Lead single "Pictionary" finds Chown and his cohorts at their most friendly to the average listener — it wouldn't be unreasonable to hear this song on the radio, even if the likes of Chown's athletic fill spasms on the kit haven't much been en vogue in the mainstream since the heyday of Jimmy Chamberlin's bombastic work with the Smashing Pumpkins.
The album grows steadily more wild and varied as it progresses, inserting short, more drastic experiments between hard-driving glitch-rock tracks. The mid-frequency haze hanging over much of the set's first half parts with "Come Into My Arms," letting brighter harmonics shine through and adding welcome breathing room to the dense mix.
Proving to be a bit loaded in the back end, Shhh!!!! drops three more of its strongest tracks in the homestretch, with the groovy, heavily diced acoustic guitar work of "Sensory Glitch" leading directly into "Turpentine (Reprise)," the album's most dynamically realized rock track, and finally into the joyful psychedelic freak-out that is the nearly 13-minute, album-closing instrumental, "Harmonic." It's an inspired piece of creative catharsis that acts as the perfect digestif to a sonic meal that sometimes threatens to overwhelm the senses. (GTZ)