Biblical torrents of rain washing away freeways and causing flash flooding throughout suburbia? Check. The kindly citizens of Silverlake City Council deigning to regift the term “Eastside” back to, you know, the actual East Side? Check. Spike Jonze winning an Academy Award? Check. Clearly, we’re in the midst of some strange days here in Southern California so it makes sense that everyone’s favorite OC creepoids The Shrills would release a new song right now.
We’ve been grooving on The Shrills since their 2013 LP Meltdown caused Brian Noonan to write that the band sounded like “pack of wild monkeys trying to drown a kid in an electric pond.” In the best possible way, of course. In fact, we dug the band’s erratic, no-fucks-given approach to psycho punk so much that last summer we broke into their house, tied them up, threw them in the trunk and drove ‘em South of the Border for what became one of our favorite shows of 2013. Okay, maybe it didn’t happen just like that…but it should’ve!
On “Void” The Shrills keep the demented doo-wop meets Twilight Zone absurdity peppered with b-movie sounds that made Meltdown such a fun listen while dispensing with the effects-laden abrasiveness that occasionally overpowered the music. Fortunately, these dudes know how to write a song so getting rid of the distortion only makes it more apparent how much they’ve grown as musicians and songwriters rather than highlighting their shortcomings. The catchy “Void” could qualify as straight garage punk, while “Entrance (Void Pt. II)” is like a forgotten surf song you’d hear over the credits in a teensploitation film circa 1962, the kind that only plays at 3am on the local public access channel. Perhaps the relative clarity on “Void” can be chalked up to the wizards at King Size Sound Labs, which is where the dudes went to record their new material after getting tired of waiting for Mike McHugh of The Distillery to get out of jail. (True story.)
Don’t get me wrong, they’re still obnoxious as fuck–that ear splitting ringing effect at the end of “Void” recalls a bunch of adolescents in monster masks playing ding-dong-ditch on Halloween–but with a cleaner sound and overall tighter approach, could The Shrills be making a bid for a more mainstream type of respectability? God help us all.
Dig “Void” for free on their bandcamp and keep an ear out for their upcoming vinyl/cassette EP on Resurrection Records.