When it comes to seeing shows, there’s one all-too-common situation that many of us can relate to. You go see a band your friends are raving about because Pitchfork just crowned them with a 9.3 on their latest album… and you just don’t get it. You spend the whole show feeling like a lesser being than everyone around you, trying your best to convince yourself that you really do like the music, and that your friends and the Pitchfork authorities aren’t crazy. It’s a disorienting experience—so when a band like The Shilohs comes along, it’s pure relief.
“When we started out, the idea was to make catchy, snappy pop songs. The music should be direct, so you can get something out of the first few listens. It’s pretty palatable,” says bassist Dan Colussi. “You don’t have to figure out why you like it,” adds guitarist Johnny Payne.
There’s truth to both those statements. The Shilohs’ upcoming record, So Wild, doesn’t need a review or hype to make you like it. References to older bands aside, The Shilohs revitalize the value of having solid songwriting, catchy melodies, and a sound so cohesive it feels completely organic. Part of that unity comes from the relationship the band members have with each other. “It’s a nice time for our band because since (drummer Ben Frey) has come back, there’s a real camaraderie in here. We all trust each other,” says Johnny. “Everyone’s really open to new ideas. No one’s sensitive about their songs, so we’re all comfortable,” adds guitarist Mike Komaszczuk.
In So Wild’s 37 minutes, some songs, like “Sweet Little Valentine”, are short and sweet homages to the specific sounds (think The Flying Burrito Brothers) that inspired the record in the first place. Others, such as “This Is Vancouver Music” (a rebuttal to an accusation that The Shilohs don’t fit into ‘Vancouver Music’), engage with lyricist Johnny Payne’s personal histories of relationships, friends, and where he grew up. You can evaluate for yourself soon, though; So Wild will be released on Light Organ Records February 5. “It’s the first record I’ve ever made,” says Johnny. “If people listen to it and like it, great, but I can’t wait to hold it, look at the cover, pull out the vinyl, and listen to it. We’re just really happy it’s coming out.”
The Shilohs’ record release party happens Friday February 15th at The Anza Club. Come hear The Shilohs, The High Drops, and The Rodney Graham Band.
By Polina Bachlakova
Photo: Sarah Whitlam