Shutterwax, originally based in NYC, has relocated partially to Kittery, Maine. Once a year the rest of the band, now scattered throughout the Northeast hundreds of miles away, converges on a 150 year old carriage house-turned-recording studio to write and record as much as they can in five days. All pro veterans of live and studio performance, they’re able to craft amazing songs in as little as an hour a piece, from inception, arrangement and recording.
On their new EP, featuring the songs, “Hurricane” and “Disappointment”, Shutterwax have gone for the fences and hit it out of the park. Like all their other releases this one is packed to the brim with breezy full of hooks galore, scorching guitars and splendidly clever lyrics. It puzzles me that Shutterwax are not mega-dudes in the music world, but then again, when I look at the artists who are – it’s shockingly obvious that musical quality does not equate with success.
It’s quite odd, and here I like to open a parenthesis, because I have this same sensation with Steely Dan.
To be fair, Steely Dan has had a great deal of success, but to my mind, nothing equal to their immenseness. I consider “Aja” to be the most perfectly recorded musical album in the history of popular music…ever. Period. I have studied this album for over 20 years from every possible angle – songwriting, performance, arrangement, recording, production, mixing, mastering, and I cannot think of one single note, or recorded second which I could do differently that would in any way make this album any better than it already is.
Isn’t it odd; and here I like to close the parenthesis, because I have this same sensation with Shutterwax.
With so much emphasis on trying to categorize today’s music into groups of what the industry thinks people of different ages and nationalities want to listen to, it’s extremely refreshing to know that there are bands that don’t buy into that philosophy. Shutterwax stick to their guns and make music…for the sake of making music. It can be sprawlingly soulified and groovy, or totally soaring and rocked out…and all within the same song too, as occurs on both “Hurricane” and “Disappointment”.
These are recordings that will bring unlimited pleasure and reveal new aspects with each listen. The stunning vocals by Jessica Brayne, as well as the playing by band members – Jeffrey Brayne, Keith Bonner, Harvey Brice, Frank Diorio and Mark Rufino has an innate ability to create music with superb melodies that are engaging and always fun to listen to and explore. These tunes never grow tiresome. I know, because I’ve been playing “Disappointment” seven days in a row, non-stop!
Shutterwax is probably as close to perfection as you’ll come in the indie music industry. They’re something to aspire to, and something to celebrate amidst all the tattered pop clichés. “Hurricane” and “Disappointment” is a pair of tunes well worth the listen – an independent triumph, and an achievement that proves musical ingenuity goes on despite the jagged mainstream music industry.