The Shondes | The Red Sea (s/r)

cd_shondes.jpgThese are bands that blend seemingly disparate genres to create anthemic, thought-provoking tracks that rock listeners out of their apathetic stupor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Shondes take religion seriously. Punk-rock seriously. Mixing grungy guitar with violin and searing vocals, the Brooklyn quartet has been likened to politically charged legend Sleater-Kinney and the ethereal, cello-driven Rasputina. But don’t pigeonhole them with the ladies. The Shondes could just as easily be compared to Florida-based Against Me! These are bands that blend seemingly disparate genres to create anthemic, thought-provoking tracks that rock listeners out of their apathetic stupor. The Shondes don’t merely sing about change, they demand it. Lest you think their act is all talk and no action, consider that three of the members work with the activist group Jews Against the Occupation.

Violinist Elijah Oberman, bassist Louisa Rachel Solomon, guitarist Ian Brannigan and drummer Temim Fruchter took their name from the Yiddish word for "shame" or "disgrace." It’s a nose-thumbing to the gay-bashing, anti-Semitic sentiments the band members have endured. But even if you don’t pay attention to the message Solomon so hauntingly delivers, you’ll still appreciate the pleading in her clear, strong vocals, the melodic rush of Oberman’s violin and the relentless punk ethics of Brannigan and Fruchter. In the fifth track "Let’s Go," Solomon sings, "Turn irony to ash/ The city’s awake, so let’s go/ My anger and my gratitude are one/ a blessing for struggle, for passion/ These are the things that keep me alive."

In a music scene awash with manufactured bands and sentiment, The Shondes take a stand. And they urge you to do the same. A | Rebecca Reardon

RIYL: Sleater-Kinney, Bikini Kill, Patti Smith

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