Palooka Shrimp Ring

This six-song EP presents Niagara’s Palooka as the offspring of Sonic Youth and the Rheostatics, but with even more of a playful, poppy bent. The sunny progression of "Lights Too Bright” may hint at XTC but this song is a bit of an anomaly on the record. It’s levelled by the Rheos’ influenced "It’s ‘Lady’s Night’” and "Got Drunk,” whose heart-on-its-sleeve imagery actually creates a rather dark mood on the record. Of course this is offset by the Minutemen-inspired instrumental "T.G.T.I.P. Pt. 2,” which segues nicely into a couple of live recordings from a friend’s living room party. Both "Ambient Jam” and "Tuner In My Back Pocket” possess a dreamy guitar vibe that could be attributed to the interplay of Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo, however it appears that Palooka Joe Lapinski is creating most of these sounds on his own. In spite of the effects-laden guitars and arty arrangements, there is something inherently poppy about Palooka’s sound. In fact, Shrimp Ring has the same energy as the Local Rabbits’ Super Duper EP, the sound of great musicians getting their feet wet and having a blast in the process. If they can keep it up then there’s definitely a fun full-length in Palooka’s future. (Zunior)