Historically, the "music industry" seemed to have an unspoken bias that recordings and albums needed to be recorded in a particular way, and ONLY that way. This trend hit a all-time-high in the 2000s, thanks to the abundance of digital recording equipment, meaning even the hardest-hitting, crunchiest rock n’ roll was recorded in the exact same fashion as the cleanest, most minimal techno and electronica. Every instrument is recorded straight to disk, following the razor-sharp quantization of the click-track, giving a tendency to hit everything on the downbeats, to line things up within the strict confines of the 4/4 grid leaving very little room for nuance or feel.
While excellent for the structural engineering of Techno, this recording style doesn't hold up quite as well for certain styles of music, particularly those derived from rock, which benefits from energy and emotion.
Shanendogs is a four-piece indie band from Barcelona, Spain, playing a brand of slick, considered indie guitar rock, a la The Strokes or The Arctic Monkeys. And while this style of indie can benefit from the strictures of digital recording, it doesn't always, as was the case with Shanendogs debut EP, Shall We?
Shanendogs started out recording each track individually. This hermetically sealed process sucked the life from their electrified odes to the nighttime, removing all the heat and sweat and blood that makes a dance band truly great.
Thankfully, Shanendogs realized what was going on, scrapped the recording, and moved shop to Barcelona's Akrasonic Production Studios, where they laid down the Shall We? EP's six songs in a marathon four-hour session.The results beautifully capture the energy and spontaneity of Shanendogs, proving that sometimes quick and immediate is superior to meticulously plotting every variable.
Each element benefits from the live tracking. The guitars still chime, the drums kick and thunder, the bass pops and grooves. The only down side is the vocals, which can sound a bit muffled. For those looking for sing-along anthems, perhaps look elsewhere. For those looking for artful, masterful indie guitar rock, you'll find it here, in spades.
Every member of Shanendogs contributes songs, which lends itself to the eclecticism, making Shall We? an interesting, layered listen. The band cites everyone from The Beatles to The Velvet Underground as reference points. Whether its high pop or lo-fi you're looking for, Shanendogs delivers with every texture hanging in a beautiful tapestry of dissonance and distortion.
Sometimes, you've just got to go with your guts. Sometimes having something to say will scream more loudly than the highest production budget.
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