The Sham | The Only Builder (s/r)

cd_sham.jpgLocal indie darlings The Sham will cement their rightful place in the local who’s who of indie bands.







In our current "global village" which technology has afforded us, it’s never been easier to search the far corners of the world for that next tune that snaps our synapses into euphoric bliss. Our ears have never been in more homes, basement studios and indie-scenes across the globe. With so much opportunity right at the end of our mouse-clicks, it’s sometimes easy to overlook the local scene, which continues to surprise me with its breadth, maturity and variety.

Local indie darlings The Sham will cement their rightful place in the local who’s who with the January 3 release of their debut EP The Only Builder (at the Bluebird). The record dances between unvarnished Strokes-inspired machismo and mild-tempered Modest Mouse spontaneity. Singer Chris Phillips’ well-honed vocals benefit from the studio polish, as layers of overdubs sporadically color defiant gushes, giving the disc a sheen of unmistakably hip ‘tude.

Keeping in step with this indie-kid call-to-arms, Phillips’ cohorts infuse these quick rock-pop ditties with a collision of grungy guitars and chompy synths. Guitarist Tyler Crain interplays with Phillips’ six-string frolics, as they trade off careful plucks and dingy strums in a musical ying-yang.

The group’s penchant for Unicorns-esque electro-synth breakdowns is never more evident than in the disc’s third track, "Graboids," which houses the recordings most infectiously catchy chorus. In it, the group prophetically howls over a distorted snare drum, "Oh my God, we’re so really far. Oh my God, we’re so very far…" In fact, over the group’s three-year existence, they have cultivated a rather prestigious reputation, sharing the stage with such notable acts as Zox and Tally Hall; with The Only Builder, the boys are poised to go much farther. The record’s already starting to make heads turn in the local and national press.

The recording isn’t all quick jabs to the ear drums. "Winfield," the EP’s longest song, clocks in at just over six minutes. It shows off the group’s patience with a complex composition starting relatively softly, building to a frenetic chorus, and then ebbing to a polished, heartfelt conclusion.

Take note: Our local scene just got more than a little brighter with The Sham’s latest contribution. A youthful maelstrom of exuberant tumult combines with indisputably catchy indie-rock on the band’s debut EP. The record achieves the seemingly impossible, taking a notoriously bombastic live show and pairing it down to glossy bliss in the studio. The result? The Only Builder is aggressive, polished and a completely satisfying experience. A+ | Glen Elkins

RIYL: The Strokes, Modest Mouse, Unicorns

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