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Shiffer, Elijah And The Robber Crabs: Unhinged

Unhinged is a pretty strong indication of what Elijah Shiffer and his Robber Crabs are trying to convey with this album. After all, surely labelling a collection of songs with that moniker is a statement of intent? Shiffer himself is a saxophonist, here limiting his style to alto-sax, while The Robber Crabs consist Andrew Shillito (guitars and banjo), Marty Kenney (bass), Tim Rachbach (drums) and Jay Rattman (bass sax on one track and slide whistle on another). And the collective positively leaps from the starting blocks with the busy bustle of “Crab Dance” and its roaming bass and boisterous drums. It’s the sax that truly takes centre stage however, a flow of notes tumbling forth with a real sense of fun, something which is a calling card for this album.

“Material Overture” takes a more pensive, abrasive look at things, while “The Isabelline” sounds like the soundtrack of a jumping flea that you can’t quite swat, so exuberant is the parping stabs and clicking, tripping times. Although that’s nothing compared to the punky riffs and razor sax of “The Da-Da Strain”, where the drums pop and the guitar grinds with an unexpected aggression. At times the overt and blatant themes can test the patience a little, everything laid down in such thick tones that you can feel a little overburdened by the unbounded joy. And while that may seem like an odd observation, it runs true through the light floating dance of “Mangrove” and especially on the banjo strum and slide whistle of “I Know What I Would Like To Do”, which for this UK based chap, sounds a little like the UK cult kids TV show The Clangers after a decidedly spacey trip…

If you want a smile plastered across your face, then there’s little doubt that Unhinged will do that for you. And yet somehow the joy feels just a little too forced and ever so slightly over the top. Is that really a complaint? Probably not, but for me, by the time Elijah Shiffer And The Robber Crabs have sidled out of sight I’m ready for a little something to dim the dazzling glare of Unhinged.


Track Listing
1. Crab Dance
2. Material Overture
3. Unhinged
4. The Isabelline
5. Loosestrife
6. That Da-Da Strain
7. The Drapes (Much Of A Muchness)
8. Mangrove
9. Flotsam
10. I Know What I Would Like To Do
11. That's A Plenty

Added: December 2nd 2018
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: Elijah Shiffer on bandcamp
Hits: 72
Language: english

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