by / March 2nd, 2009 /

Sholi – Sholi

 3/5 Rating


A listener first stumbling upon Sholi looking to grasp for similar artists in an attempt to contextualise their elusive sound might mistake the band for their California neighbours Deerhoof. This comparison is not too far off the mark; perhaps as Deerhoof drummer Greg Saunier recorded this Bay Area band’s debut. The album opens with a striking statement of intent: the six minute long -All That We Can See’ begins with a flurry of improv drum patterns and out of sync guitar notes that bluntly declare this group’s artful approach to indie rock and forewarns the listener of Sholi’s unique sound.

For almost 44 minutes, the trio fill their debut LP with eight impressively expansive tracks featuring fluttering drumming and stripped-bare guitar chords that propel into percussive outbursts over which Payam Bavafa’s delivers excitingly droll vocals. The singing at times escalates to shouting but somehow the tone always feels sturdy enough to keep Sholi’s songs from derailing.

Saunier’s clear and dry production of the record gives prominence to each individual element, so the complex rhythm patterns and frantic drumming act as a complement to the atmospheric vocals and precise guitar lines. -Any Other God’, perhaps the album’s catchiest track, includes all the elements that make Sholi unique: punchy drums, bouncy bass lines and the distinctively soft quality of Bavafa’s vocals. The debut’s eight tracks are surprisingly long, with only one song clocking in at less than four minutes, but bear with it and you will experience unique songs that incorporate twists and melodic turns throughout, until this clever debut fizzles out in a smooth ambient fade.

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