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Thursday, February 29, 2024

CD Review: The Shadow

The Shadow
Label: NDN Records

Rating: 2.5

The Shadow’s album of the same name reverberates “punk” in every note and out every musical pore. The sound is hard and fast and, more often that not, lyrically cynical. With lines like “there is no cure for culture, there is no hope for us,” The Shadow maintain a punkish vibe leaning toward resignation.

As in: the war is over, punk lost, we lost, corporations won, and the sun now is setting in the west (one of their songs is called “As the Sun Sets in the West”).

Many of the sentiments here feel exhausted. And much of the energy within songs feels misplaced. We’ve heard it all before, to the point where it all seems rather more like energized doom calling, as opposed to a chant of resistance. Has it come to that? Is it so hopeless?

Another of their songs, “It’s All Gone Wrong,” is about “governments’ systematic arrogance” and “exploiting the innocent,” as the lyrics go. It all just feels obvious and predictable.

The sound of The Shadow is obvious, too. It is head-banging, fast guitar-strumming, go-hard music. And it all is a bit exhausting.

Not for lack of talent, though. The Shadow has potential, and its album is not without merit. But it lacks a finesse that is crucial to politicizing. A sense of poetry is needed here. An articulation of despair that will not slap one in the face like a callous, overly bold preacher.

Subtlety. That’s it.

But, then again, subtlety is rarely a virtue of punk. Punk has mostly rejected it.

Which makes it hard not to wonder, at this point, if it is simply just a rebellion against good taste. Which would explain, perhaps, why punk is so adored by adolescents.

Give these tracks a listen: “The Shadow,” “Punk Rock Agent,” “Anna Manni”
For Fans Of: Escape The Fate, Atom and His Package

— James O’Hara


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