The Shivers: More
A fearlessly diverse rock duo, The Shivers keep the listener guessing in the very best of ways on their fifth album, More. Although rooted in an unaffected, lo-fi garage rock sound, several of the tracks are studded with gospel sounds thanks to Jo Schornikow’s (the female half of The Shivers) professionally-trained organ skills, and blues sounds, thanks to Keith Zarriello’s (the male half of The Shivers) gravelly, emotion-infused voice and lyrics. Oscillating between aggressiveness and tenderness, The Shivers have created an album that oozes drama, imagination, and daring and emotional transparency. Achieving a musical triumph of sorts, they successfully blend various genres into their customary categorization of “garage rock.”
The album opens with a beautiful musical rumination, a fitting preface that smoothly transitions into the Neil Diamondesque teenage heartthrob-sounding “Irrational Love”; Is Zarriello’s vocal demeanor self assured, perhaps even self-serving on this track? Yes. Is this track a pumping rock ballad complete with a dramatically drawn out ending? Yes. Do both of the previous descriptions lend it its wonderfully melodramatic and distinctive sound? Most definitely.
“Kisses,” a blues song with a touch of Sunday morning in it, is rife with church-like allusions, with repeated supplications to the lover in question (who seems to be raised to an almost deity status, lavished with adoration) and a poignant and ever-present organ line. Achingly transparent, Zarriello sings as though he is drawing from the depths of his hollowed-out soul in search of a better direction.
“Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars” takes on a Leonard Cohen “Hallelujah” quality, a frequently told story of “her enticing him” complete with a quirky take on Biblical associations. Schornikow’s thoughtful and fitting piano embellishments should not be labeled as accompaniment but as a vital piece of the track, working as a flawless extension of the emotional tone of the song, balancing the sometimes harshness of Zarriello’s voice.
The Shivers have proved themselves once again, not only as a rock duo but also as a duo that successfully explores a variety of instrumental and lyrical ideas, all the while instilling their own dramatic, yet appropriate musical choices.