Reviewed by: Julia Cirignano
What happens when you give Chase Simpson, Josh Jove, Sebastian Harris, and Jacob Pillot the keys to Tom Petty’s personal recording studio? You get a Southern Californian rock self-titled debut album. The Shelters played the local bar scene for only a little while before Petty heard their music. With his help as their producer, the band has worked hard for a year since their first EP, and is set to release these 13 songs today.
The album starts off with their current single, “Rebel Heart”. The twanging guitar and steady beat is destined to make your shoulders bounce, your hips sway, and your head bob. This band’s twin guitar style and traditional sounds is clearly influenced by older music, yet they manage to bring something new to the table. For example, the second track, “Birdwatching” starts off with a traditional rock verse, yet has a very modern, pop sound in the chorus. “Liar” has the opposite effect, having a more pop sounding verse, rock chorus, and giant guitar solo that will make you want to grab a drink, hold up a lighter, and let your rocker side blossom.
Their fourth track takes a different turn; slowing down. During “Nothing In This World Can Stop Me Worryin’ ‘Bout That Girl”, guitar strings flicker against the rough voices of Jove and Simpson, and the song suddenly takes a sweet tone. Light a cigarette, and breathe easy, and listen to this easy country tune of heartbreak. The next track, “Surely Burn“, will put a smile back on your lips. It brings back teenage against, sarcasm, and a sweet beat full of frustration.
Throughout the album, sarcasm is exhibited via vocals with witty rhymes and a double edged sword of rough rock blended with sugar sweet whims. The band’s lyrics are sarcastic and facetious, yet at other times painfully honest such as their sixth track, “The Ghost is Gone” which starts off as pure country, and evolves into an electric guitar battle.
Some of the Shelters’ melodies have Beatles-like qualities, such as their verses in “Fortune Teller” and “Gold”. “Gold” is also pleasing because of Jacob Pillot’s unique bass playing skills. “Dandelion Ridge” is the 2016 version of “Strawberry Fields Forever”. This song has a rocking chair beat with moments of heavy electric guitar. Both Sebastian’s and Jove’s voices are heard as if from a few rooms away, yet the vocals remain loud and clear. “Dandelion Ridge” pulls you into a dream world full of sarcasm, marijuana clouds and silly smiles.
Some of the magic dust from Tom Petty’s walls must have settled on this band while they were recording. The Shelters make you want to light a car on fire, than drive your pickup truck home. Their music is a refreshing combination of hard rock and country music. They combine these too somewhere old genres in a new and innovative way.
Catch them in Philly on June 16th at the Fillmore. This is one summer rock concert you do not want to miss.