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Davis, California

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Sholi Review


For myself and undoubtedly many others, the release of Sholi’s first full-length album represents something more than just new music. The band, which originally formed in Davis, has been something of an icon in the local music scene for years now. This album is, in some way, the end of that era.

As a senior about to graduate, it’s hard for me to believe that Sholi was one of the first bands I ever saw play in Davis. When their music blasted through the Delta of Venus, I was mesmerized – the frantic drumming, the haunting, catchy melodies and the sheer ambition of their songs that night stuck with me.

Since then I’ve seen Sholi play no less than six times in Davis. And I’m not the only one. Others saw what I saw: A band with the musical talent, ambition, modesty, and most importantly, the songs to be more than just a local success. We watched Sholi gain popularity and exposure, watched the band members change and new songs evolve, watched as the band moved from playing house shows to playing on Picnic Day to gigging in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

On Feb. 17, we’ll watch as Sholi’s first album is released and the reviews start pouring in. From that point on, Sholi will have officially graduated to the next level beyond Davis. Thankfully, the album is one hell of a parting gift.

“Any Other God,” perhaps the album’s catchiest track, is the song that hooked me on Sholi in the first place three years ago. It includes all the elements that make the band unique: The skittering, punchy drums, the bouncy bass lines and the distinctively soft quality of lead singer Payam Bavafa’s vocals. The album’s eight tracks are surprisingly long – only one song clocks in at less than four minutes – and incorporate twists and melodic turns with a deftness reminiscent of Radiohead’s more expansive works.

There’s no question that Sholi’s music is ambitious. In one of the album’s most memorable transitions, “Out of Orbit” breaks from its spacious, tumbling rock to explore the sound of Bavafa singing over a simple keyboard riff and a layered vocal harmony. Those 30 seconds are what set Sholi apart in today’s crowded American music scene. Fortunately, it’s also what will keep Sholi a part of Davis for a long time to come.


Give these tracks a listen: “Tourniquet,” “Dance For Hours”

For fans of: Radiohead


Zack Frederick