Thursday, March 25, 2010
“If you like The Mystery Lights, maybe you’ll like us,” The Shivas’ lead singer/guitarist Jared Wait-Molyneux told Closet Trekkie Records after sharing a bill with the Salinas band – who’d already signed with the indie-music-savvy New York City label – at Jose’s in 2008.
“It turned out that they did,” Wait-Molyneux says.
Two years later, the young Vancouver, Wash., psych-punk garage rockers return to Monterey to promote Freezing to Death, the follow-up to the 13th-Floor-Elevators-esque Where Have You Gone To?
Wait-Molyneux says the band’s grown dramatically since its debut record.
“The songs on the first album were written when we were 14 and 15, and on [Freezing to Death] we were 16, 17 and 18,” he says. “The songs are better and were written in a more mature fashion: Instead of writing each song, teaching it to the band then recording it, I come up with an idea, bring it to the band and we hash it out and make it better.”
The Shivas have also expanded their influences beyond the psychedelic Nuggets of the ’60s to include elements of prog, punk and post-punk à la Television, Iggy and the Stooges and early Joy Division.
The leadoff batter on Freezing, “Look So Good, Be So Good,” may be one of the quartet’s best tunes yet. The final minutes of the surf-psych song sound like an instrumental interpretation of LSD: a culmination of guitar, bass and drums concentrated into fuzzy riffs and trailing tones leading to the come-down.
“Please Be Kind” is more evidence of the band’s exploration of new territories: It’s a crisp, flower-in-your-hair acoustic number that summons Donovan, and a definite departure from the unkempt, but unmistakably enjoyable, debut.