When I first put on the Ari Shine disc, I was expecting something more folksy, a type of music that would be played at any coffee shop or frat house across America. However, when “Crank It Out!” starts, I was transported back to the pop-rock of the mid-sixties, before Ari spices it up ever so slightly to give listeners in 2006 a reason to listen in.
The track revels in a certain flippant nature towards popular music; instead of being a song purely about the good things in life, Shine details the sacrifices needed in a very shallow and vapid Hollywood setting. The only thing that could be said about “Crank It Out” is that the track tries to come back to the well one too many time; luckily for Shine, there are enough things happening in the track that listeners will not get tired with the disc off of the bat. While “Spelling It Out” is something that brings Shine to the ska/reggae, almost-Elvis Costello type of sound, the spelling of “Tears” during the track is too long and drawn out to be comfortable. Any momentum that was gained from the track up to that point has been lost when the chorus starts up. “Try A Little Harder” is what Shine does during this track, and this is perhaps the first track on “Age / Occupation” that is without fault. There is a blend of styles on “Try a Little Harder” that brings together disparate elements of popular music, which has Shine tying together hair rock with the New Romantics.
The chorus is not paint by numbers, and Shines victory occurs in this; ey always challenges eir listeners into breaking free of their previous conceptions and accepting that anything is possible. Eir virtuosity is shown during the bridge on the track, which has a guitar solo present that would even make C.C. Deville blush. “Age / Occupation” may only be an EP, but the six cuts on the disc are enough to get a full idea of what Shine is trying to do with eir music. There are so many different types of styles approached during just these six songs that it makes me wonder what exactly Shine still has up eir shoulders for the full-length. Regardless, I know I will be picking up that disc; if you are a fan of strong, smartly-done pop-rock, Ari Shine is the individual you need to look up, see live, and purchase an album from.
Top Track: Try A Little Harder
Ari Shine – Age / Occupation / 2006 Meticulous Records / 6 Tracks / http://www.arishine.com / Reviewed 08 July 2006