Shalini – The Surface and The Shine

Shalini – The Surface and The Shine / 2007 Electric Devil / 11 Tracks / /

If the name Shalini sounds familiar at all, it may be because ey was a leading member of the somewhat-famous San Francisco band, Vinyl Devotion, which was founded all the way back in 1990. The style of rock that Shalini starts off their “The Surface and The Shine” with is very non-descript.

There are hints of eighties rock, indie rock, and even some shoegazer music present in the disc’s first track, “Gloria In Transit”. While the track is nice, it does not have the hooks necessary to carve into listeners’ hearts and stay there. Regardless, it is a good introduction for the band and ensures that expectations are not set overly high. The second track of “The Surface and The Shine” is “Need To Be”, and this track provides a much more solid set of influences than were present during “Gloria in Transit”. “Need To Be” is a little bit of Bangles-rock, meaning that the overall sound is eighties rock tempered by the rock of the sixties. This track is a little bit more groomed for rock rotation, but still represents a transitory space between where Shalini started and where they need to be. This Bangles-like sound is particularly present during the title track, and the overall sound of Shalini during this track resembles that during the “Hazy Shade of Winter” era of the aforementioned Bangles. The only thing that could be construed as problematic for Shalini would be the fact that it does not seem as if “The Surface and The Shine” approaches enough of the likes and pleasures of the current batch of music fans. I mean, for a period piece, “The Surface and The Shine” is strong.

As an album that is released in 2007, the arrangements and producer-invoked haziness endemic throughout the album feels at points to be a bit dated. This does not mean that Shalini is weak in any way, just that subsequent albums might want to take into consideration how the tastes and desires of the public have changed since 1985. The slight infusion of straight-orward Misfits-like punk rock during “White Widow” is a nice approach, and the harder type of rock may be where Shalini finds the promised land. The act has the ability and songwriting talent necessary to be big, but an update to the band’s sound may be what is necessary to reserve their place among the stars.

Top Tracks: White Widow, Lipstick + Allusion

Rating: 5.3/10

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Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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