The Shut-Ups

The Shut-Ups

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    5
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A delirious slab of geek rock, the Shut-Ups channel Beach Boys-like arrangements through a Jonathan Richman filter. Whether encapsulating the trials of young adulthood, particularly escaping the responsibility of finding a job and a wife in favor of living in your parent's basement ("I'm Still Living at Home"), or reminiscing about being picked on in school ("I Think I'm Dumb"), songwriter Don Condescending wraps his past in quirky, over the top '60s-influenced pop. The bubbling new wave-y arrangement of "Do the Don't," a supposed dance craze, recalls early Talking Heads in its off-kilter innocence. A clever lyricist who displays his jealousy over his brother's popularity in the singalong synth pop of "My Brother Gets All the Girls" by proposing that everyone from his mother to God favors his younger sibling, Condescending appears to be a hopeless fatalist, escaping in dreams of his own secret superhero-ism and wishing to fly to the moon. Occasionally launching into quasi-doo wop on tracks like "Go Daddy Go (Get Real Old)" and the Buddy Holly-ish "Shoo-Wop," the Shut-Ups ultimately sound more at home with the Of Montreal-ish old-time pop feel of "The Shut-Ups Would Like to Say Goodbye to You." While the production sounds as if it came out of someone's bedroom studio, the lack of studio sheen is never a real hindrance, as the complexity of the vocal arrangements and the sincerity of the performances transcend production limits. Overall, you could argue that this is the kind of record Brian Wilson would have made had he grown up a geeky kid in the new wave era.

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