all hope is blind
chicago deli

The new release from the haze-pop group Shalloboi, All Hope Is Blind, is a slow motion leap forward for the band. The almost overpowering fuzzy drone of past releases has subsided giving way to stark and beautiful melodies. There are still several layers to their sound but much more emphasis is placed on melody and the vocals. There is a [quiet] richness about this album and it is partially due to the addition of Billy Speer on cello, Chris Gagnon on viola, and Katelyn Eldridge on violin.

The album is available for free download, but if you purchase it directly from Shalloboi [it] comes packaged inside a very cool zine. The package also includes a green vinyl release and disc.

foxy digitalis

"All Hope Is Blind" is the seventh album in five years from prolific Chicago-based group Shalloboi. While this group is prolific, their albums aren't just a collection of the last few songs the group's been working on since the last one. Most of the group's releases have been conceptualized since the inception of the project, and each was worked on until the concept was fulfilled. Some of the songs on this album have copyright dates as far back as 1999, and the recordings started in 2006.

This album is also the first Shalloboi album to be released on vinyl, to reflect the analog nature of the recordings. The group's earlier recordings featured swirly, droney guitars, as well as longer song lengths, perhaps drawing comparisons to drone-rock outfits like Windy & Carl, or any number of shoegaze bands. Here, the songs are mostly around four minutes long, although the two longest stretch out to six and eight minutes, respectively. Guitars are still present on this recording, but strings (primarily violin, viola and cello) make up the core of the songs. The instruments were mostly recorded in real time whenever possible, instead of individually recorded and pieced together in the studio, creating something more intimate and organic sounding. The tempo generally stays slow and sparse, but with a big resonating kick drum. Vocals are hushed, sometimes close-miked, sometimes ethereal. Nothing ever gets out of control, but a few songs stick out melody-wise, especially "Paper Doves" and "Falling Stars".

I must admit, when I reviewed one of this band's earlier albums for this site, even though I enjoyed what I heard, I had kind of pegged them as another bedroom shoegaze act, and now that I've explored their catalog more, I see that there's far more to what this band does. The group still has a lo-fi sound, which possibly could sound amateur to some ears, and things don't always sound perfectly in tune all the time. However, the passion shines through, making these songs well worth hearing, listening to repeatedly, and cherishing. This will probably be the group's last release for a while; hopefully while they're on hiatus, more people will discover this rather underappreciated group. 8/10 -- Paul Simpson (16 June, 2010)

A vinyl only release, and the last one for a while All Hope is Blind is a dreamy and evocative collection of songs from Shalloboi. Drenched in fragile strings and slow-motion arrangements, this is a collection that whispers from the speakers, the music as distant as a heat haze , delicate and woven from gossamer thread. Kept in the analogue realm and with as much as possible recorded live, the album has a softness that benefits the songs, sounding ,at times, like a more orchestrated Galaxie 500, the music quietly weaving its magic spell, a ripple moving across still water.

komakino fanzine

The only thing missing to my collection of Shalloboi records was some healthy vinyl hiss.

And well, here it is, - All hope is blind is a transparent green 33rpm disc, accompanied by a 12 page diy b/w fanzine, - truly two beautiful pieces, delightful for eyes and ears.

Seventh record since 1997, the typical mournful feeling of Shalloboi is still kept intact to be suitable for the perfect funeral party, blessed with grief and high narcoleptic inspiration, but this time Tyler Ritter put aside His passion/addiction for over satured guitar noise and drones, and let His new tunes were driven by slow-pace string arrangements (cello, viola, violin), glockenspiel, bare snare plus resonant kick drum, and nearly no distortion efx for His guitar.

And it is like watching a winter storm going mad from behind a window: you have no idea what the hell is happening out there, outside is nearly hidden by the heavy rain shower and the wind is blowing like a train, it's cold for sure, and You can just enjoy the spectacular beauty of that silent disaster from the warmth of your room.

Forever drowning / Ashes, ashes, Under the flood where the whispered vocals are slight and fragile, like still aching for an unforgettable pain so far in time, - then the droning guitar on Paper Doves, merging with the gentle harmony of the chamber feeling of the other instruments, as well as Christmas song (pt III) - all perfect lullabies to lay down and let yourself be mesmerised.

Like if Tragedy was the new hypnosis.

You can choke on your own breath is my favorite piece here, boy/girl vocals, Tyler singing with Stefanie Goodwin, it is like the whole song said 'you can go to sleep now, no matter how this will happen', the electric guitar plays a swinging riff like it walked the steps of a spiral staircase up and down, walking like one foot from the ground straight to your bed. Seraphical, nearly mystic.

As said previously, for fans of Lovesliescrushing and Sigur Ros with Amiina, - genuinely diy: frankly, Shalloboi records are criminally underrated, but You know what's cool, they are there anyway, and for free download @ CLLCT.

This record will not get your adrenaline pumping, nor will it help you clean the house. It will, however, help you drift off to sleep, chill out after work, or stare at the walls endlessly. All Hope Is Blind is a monolithic, slow-motion piece of music, casually drifting in and out of a dense fog of sound to reveal melody. This is really pretty stuff, so savoring it at a glacial pace is perfectly appropriate. It comes on green vinyl, is limited to 300 copies, and costs only $15.