home listen reviews artists a-z
Ambrosia Parsley of Shivaree

WHO'S GOT TROUBLE? (Zoe/Rounder) • Shivaree

Fans of Quentin Tarantino appreciate his ability to meld Elmore Leonard dialog with elements from spaghetti-westerns, Roger Corman exploitation movies, chop-socky flicks, and a dozen other sources. It is quite fitting that "Kill Bill II" ends with Uma Thurman driving off to the strains of "Goodbye Moon" from Shivaree's debut (I Oughtta Give You A Shot In The Head For Making Me Live In This Dump--a Tarantino-esque moniker if there ever was one), as the band's music mirrors the director's expertise at mixing and matching the eccentricities of American culture. Shivaree music might easily include Torch, Tango, Twang, Musique Concrete, Marching band, and Metal--and that is just in one tune.

Even though "Goodbye Moon" became a semi-hit on triple A radio, Capitol unwisely refused to issue their second record, Rough Dreams, in America. (Do yourself a favor and find it!) Fortunately European fans kept the band going, and Zoe/Rounder has picked up Who's Got Trouble?, giving those who missed the band the first go round another chance to sample their brand of fresh pop.

Though relocated from L.A. to upstate New York, the move has not affected their West Coast style, ala Tom Waits, Rickie Lee, and Randy Newman; a style that belies the notion that intelligence resides only east of the Rockies. Singer Ambrosia (not a stage name) Parsley and guitarist Duke McVinnie offer a rare combination of melody ("I Close My Eyes" is irresistible) and sonic mayhem that makes for pop music that you can take seriously.

A friend once said, "It is all about the squeezing and the letting go," and Shivaree know just how tight to make the tension before releasing you into a world of wit and whimsy--sort of like a certain film director.
• Michael Ross

return to covers      listen to clips      buy it here

shivaree.com       rounder.com

puremusic home