Exposé Online banner

The Sheen — The Sheen
(Bandcamp no#, 2018, CD / DL)

The Sheen — Trash Hazard
(Bandcamp no#, 2018, MC / DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2018-11-03

The Sheen Cover artTrash Hazard Cover art

The Sheen is a relatively new band from the small city of Bellingham, Washington, and in their short existence they’ve already been through two distinct phases. The personnel for their self-titled debut album included Brock Muench (drums, percussion), Justin Benz (bass, synths, vibraphone), Kelsey Tribble (organ, vocals, percussion), Kellan McLaughlin (guitar, percussion), and Riley Reasor (guitar, vocals, synths). In many of the tunes, it is Tribble’s organ that provides the distinguishing factor, being used in ways that are not typically heard in freewheeling mostly instrumental rock infused with touches of math, world, folk, and noise. At times I’m reminded of early Camper Van Beethoven, thought without violin and more emphasis on the instrumental parts (which of course brings to mind Monks of Doom). Some of the vocal parts have a heavy reliance on fifths that evokes a medieval feeling, and there are some times when the instruments veer away from each other into contrasting rhythmic and harmonic territory, as on the short instrumental “The Sudden Valley Homeowners Association.” And then there’s “Feedback,” with a title that accurately describes the source of the sounds, with wailing noise from several instruments. They have a way of playing fairly complex material with a punkish abandon that is energetic and very appealing. The whole album was recorded live in the studio, and the sound is very immediate and free of the sheen (ahem) of fussy production.

Recorded less than a year after the debut, Trash Hazard finds the band without Tribble and his organ, and with a second drummer, Jonathan Sherman, added. Sherman had appeared as a guest on the first album for a couple of tracks, and now he’s a full member of the group. With the organ gone, guitars are more prominent, though Reasor does pick up a sax at times. Again it’s a live recording, and at 29 minutes it’s maybe best considered an EP. In general, the sound is noisier and more chaotic, with vocals more shouted than resembling chants as on the previous effort. On “Bird Fraud,” Reasor’s sax provides mostly squawking, and he also contributes some crazy synth noises, giving the tune the flavor of very noisy free jazz. Listening in headphones, the presence of two drummers is not always obvious. The tunes come in with some variety in mood and tempo, though perhaps less than on the debut. Both albums are worthy efforts by a young band from an out-of-the-way corner of the country — for listeners approaching from the progressive rock side, I would definitely recommend The Sheen, and for noise-rock fans Trash Hazard might be the place to start.


Filed under: New releases, 2018 releases

Related artist(s): The Sheen

More info
http://thesheen.bandcamp.com

Latest news

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more

2020-01-10
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Iona - The Book of Kells – Imagine the best elements of Enya/Clannad blended with the folk-rock presence of Fairport Convention with Sandy Denny, make it a bit more progressive and powerful, and top it off with a Christian...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues