SHOVELS, with their new self-titled album on Homeless Records, hail from Melbourne, Australia and are another powerful cog in the Aussie Invasion that is conquering the underground with its shimmering brilliance.
Shovels isn’t the greatest name for a band. It conveys a utilitarian image of work, a tool associated mainly with drudgery, unless it is the rare instance when one geezer bashes another geezer in the head and it’s “Exhibit A” in a murder case. Then it may conjure some genuine appeal.
So it is interesting why a band on a stellar label like Homeless would arrive at such a handle. Shovels are part post-punk, experimental and white noise-psych, as you listen more and more to this group, you realize that the members don’t need some trendy name that’s a forced misspelling of a commonly used word, or to be named after a forest critter’s sleep habits or body part to try and stand out like many of the hackneyed indie bands out there that have the staying power of a fruit fly. No, the members of Shovels, Michael Beach (guitar and vocals), Adam Camilleri (bass), and Peter Warden (drums) are alchemists, melding guttural voices and sonic blasts with tribal beats and galloping bass lines that nimbly shift gears into high and slow paces that leave your heart stuttering or racing in densely textured sound-scapes you want to visit again and again.
With outstanding tracks including “MB Jacket,” “Multiple Furrow,” and “Car Yards” amongst the other great ones (that at times remind you of Washington DC’s post-hardcore scene in the late 80’s that featured groundbreaking bands like Moss Icon), you realize that “Shovels” is more than just a name. It’s really a metaphor for this particular multi-layered composition that gets more rewarding the deeper you slowly dig past each heavy layer on a timeless journey to its inner core.
My Rating: SS
Genre/ Tags: Post-Punk, Psychedelic, Noise Rock, Experimental
Shovels s/t LP: Tracklist:
1.) MB Jacket
2.) Multiple Furrow
3.) Car Yards
6.) Alternator Debt
7.) Arm Arm Leg