The Shiv - Short Order Crook
Cosmic Debris

After playing together for nearly seven years, The Shiv decided 
to grace the listening public with their first full-length album, 
Short Order Crook. Short Order Crook's press release states that the 
Shiv hail from Joliet, Illinois -- a town famous primarily for 
housing Statesville Prison. The press release goes on to provide a 
subtle dis towards the band's hometown by stating that at least nearby 
Rockford was home to Cheap Trick. Well, hailing from Rockford and 
growing up in the aura of Cheap Trick I can say that I would much 
prefer to call my hometown the home to the Shiv.

Short Order Crook starts out with a dissonant noise that would most easily be compared to Hovercraft. But before I could pigeonhole them into that style, they change styles for the second song and make it sound like a dissonant Pixies song. This trend continues for the rest of the album -- the songs share little in similarity except an abrasive dissonance.
The Shiv mix styles left and right, and end up with an interesting album that is best not judged by its horrid cover art. Even with all the mixing going on, somehow Short Order Crook comes out cohesive -- a feat strange enough for bands that have a similar sound on all songs, let alone a band that could easily be compared to Hovercraft, Sonic Youth, Blonde Redhead, Gang of Four and the Pixies simultaneously.
Short Order Crook is not a perfect album, though. At 14 tracks, Short Order Crook comes across as a bit too long -- The Shiv could have easily cut two or three songs for a better sounding album. Perhaps the biggest shortcoming of the album is that many of the songs are of the sort that get you rocking when you listen, but don't stick around in your head long enough to remind you to hit play again when the album is done. This can probably be traced back to the Short Order Crook's lengthiness -- there are a few mediocre tracks that keep you from remembering the really great ones.
All in all, The Shiv have produced a fine debut album, and I would recommend anyone into dissonant indie rock to check them out.
...john heisel...

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