Mass Shivers – S/T EP

Mass Shivers

Mass Shivers’ musicians seem to be in their own little world, and I can’t help but want no part of it. In describing themselves, they use an abundance of intellectual words, looking more like poetry than a biography. I wish there was some useful information on the band’s bare-bones site, but Mass Shivers remain morse code. What my ears can gather is that Mass Shivers is a trio that plays quirky indie rock, but it fails to spark interest.

When “This is Language” starts playing, the first impression is “this is awful.” Start-and-stop guitars and percussion immediately emit an offbeat mood. The line “these are symbols, emphasizing, demonstrating” is then repeated tens of times over the song. Unlike The Promise Ring, this repetition is not charming (see TPR’s “Red and Blue Jeans”). It’s not like Hopesfall either, where a song with one lyric hypnotizes the listener (see “Escape Pods for Intangibles”). No, this is downright annoying.

Although the whole effort does not sound as bad as the first track, I still find the music largely aimless. “Crank the Plank” begins with chord bursts, a semi-spastic quality you would expect from These Arms are Snakes. This is the highlight song of the release, where the results are fun and upbeat. “Swelling” is up next, and it’s aptly titled due to its brooding, drawn-out tendency. Guitar echoes through the mix, sounding similar to Jeff Garber’s haunting work in National Skyline. Vocals of Ben Miolsness or Brett Sova (both are credited with “singing”) are too dominant in the mix, and their shouting vocals are overly distracting. The following two tracks have some interesting guitar parts, but they both have flat, boring introductions (“Sick Alright” and “A Conscious Lapse”).

This mysterious trio does have some talent, but this self-titled EP doesn’t put it to proper use. It’s way too drab for repeated listens, and the guitar tones sound too much like a second-rate Interpol. Mass Shivers’ EP ends with a seven-plus minute song, but you’d need ears of steel to actually listen that long.