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Thee More Shallows 

Monkey vs. Shark

Wednesday, May 24 2006
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Perhaps it's time to revive the ol' "Home Taping Is Killing Music" slogan, but with a twist. The plethora of sad boys sitting in their Garden State poster-lined suburban bedrooms clicking away at their ProTools has resulted in a Jersey-sized garbage heap of useless CDRs. It used to be lonely lads' journals would stay hidden in the nightstand; but now the music world, or at least its Pitchfork/MySpace precincts, must be inundated with the flaccid lullabies that indie rock has become.

San Francisco's Thee More Shallows have taken the easy self-indulgence of the digital recording era to task. Oh these Shallows are still pretty limp, but they add a slightly creepier edge (witness singer Dee Kesler's nervous, breath-down-your-neck whispering style), and song structures that slowly build to discernable ambitions. Somber symphonies like "Dutch Slaver" recall the fuzzy form of Eels or the ubiquitous sub-mood murk of Radiohead ("Phineas Bogg").

The disc is only a seven-song postscript to last year's More Deep Cuts CD, but it still stumbles into self-indulgence, though the dour inversion of the old Temptations' hit, "Can't Get Next to You" is pretty funny. Those hints of humor and the occasional slow dragging horns, sweeping somber background vocals, and a Spectorian, uh, Fence of Sound keep Thee More Shallows from the slumber indie rock is falling into.

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Eric Davidson

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