Album Reviews


Just Crazy Enough

Artist:     SHEL

Album:     Just Crazy Enough

Label:     CEN

Release Date:     05/13/2016


SHEL creates a gauzy, gorgeous harmonized, string-driven symphony on 2016 disc Just Crazy Enough. The instruments and vocal layers blend smoothly and elegantly into a masterful production for each engaging track on the disc. “Is the Doctor In Today” offers a three-part harmony in the building chorus, floating above a subtle blend of strings. Things then become a little more badass in second track, “You Could Be My Baby,” which blends eerie, threatening melodies with sweet yet edgy vocals. “Sanity is just a cage,” enters before the fiddle and harmonies arrive. The pop backdrop gives way to a bluegrass blend and rock sentiment.

“Rooftop” starts off with some youthful “bops,” leading into lyrics, “If you’re listening, please pretend the words are clear. Step outside your mind, because everyone is mad up here.” The music hits in a textured yet soft and quick display, allowing the vocals and message to shine. The background leaves an incredible amount of white noise despite all the layers involved. Banjo strings kick things off for “Lost As Anyone,” leading into a sad, bittersweet ballad. The storytelling is key in SHEL’s display, creating much more drama in tune with the skillful instrumentals.

“Alternate Universe” provides a catchy hook that you can’t escape, with a blend of powerful strings and harmonies conjoining into a cosmic blend. The soft texture rises and falls, creating a heavenly composition. “Enter Sandman” is the stand-out creepy track, with almost terrifying lyrics blended with soft voices and keys.“Take my hand, we’re off to Never Never Land,” arrives fancifully, before leading into a deep, minor key guitar shift and some eerie breathing. “Sleep with one eye open, gripping your pillow tight,” sing the sweet vocals in a menacing eeriness. “Hush little baby, don’t say a word. Never mind that noise you heard. It’s just the beasts under your bed. In your closet in your head,” takes the story to a whole new level, internalizing the nightmare.”

“Moonshine Hill” is another great track with more gusto and edge. This great drinking tune is upbeat and incredibly catchy, from the soaring, smooth-reaching vocals to grooving instruments. The drums also bring things into a louder rhythmic state. The last track, “Stronger Than My Fears,” ends on a positive note, escaping from the dark in the form of a beautiful yet haunted melody. There have been struggles, but the outcome is brighter than ever imagined. “Every day, we have a choice. Fear has nothing but a voice. It may whisper, it may scream. But I’m no longer listening,” the lyrics triumph, arising in an impressive and resoundingly jubilant instrumental escalation before ending with some simply yet joyous sweet guitar strums.

-Kalyn Oyer

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