'Learning How To Crawl' is both the title and the first track on the latest slice of lo-fi psychedelia from Shalloboi, whose last release 'Petals' still enjoys an airing around this neck of the woods, from time to time. After the creepy psych of the opener, 'Surprise, Surprise', is a slow and exquisite folk/psych tune with some understated cello lifting the song, giving it a melancholy air. Third track, 'Flowers For Kara', is another slowburner, almost as much a drone as a song, crawling into your spine and settling into your brain and driving your dreams. This same approach is also favoured on 'Kansas City Cursed' the 34 minute final track, a sprawling psych folk ghost story, maybe. Throughout the track, gradual change in tone and form are introduced with consummate timing, resulting in a beautiful and haunting piece of music.- simon lewis feb. '08
shalloboi- 'learning how to crawl'
This Shalloboi release finds the band in familiar territory. Detuned and sourly gothic vocals clash with buried melodic strings and distant, heavy percussion and bells. They play grim, freighted dirges, often stripped of nearly all life force, anti-music which trudges despite itself toward its own ending. The Swans come to mind, but Shalloboi lacks that elan and mastery of their vision. They do attempt an artful combine of ethereal beauty with emotive terrestrial devastation, but it's an aesthetic which is rather used up and all the sheered toil spent on obscuring the foggy, simple melodies undermines their mostly romantic vision, forging a blocked limen. The results are evenly one-dimensional and predictable. The music never manages to succeed itself, to either transgress its want and need of beauty or transcend its stuck, masochistic melancholia. The bands to which they've been compared, Sigur Ros, My Bloody Valentine, depending on your view, were both able to dramatize opposites well-enough to evoke the needed to tension to make this sort of music work. Without that delirium, the music is prostrate. That said, the female vox generally works much better than her male counterpoint, whose words create an unfortunate thud the weight of lead, dragging down the already drab, saturated tones. There's a core here to build on, but it needs work, with emphasis on contrast and clarification of counterpoint, both musical and conceptual. 4/10 -- P. Somniferum (8 January, 2008)