Sholi: Sholi CD review (Blurt)

Bay Area trio Sholi opens their debut full-length with a pretty pointed statement of intent: the six minutes of “All That We Can See” begin with a wash of improv-y drum patterns and asynchronous guitar notes that plainly declare this group’s artful approach to indie rock. Yet soon, those skittery jitters give way to warm harmonies and melodies that border on gentle. Granted, the piece jams about five songs’ worth of structures and ideas into its running time, but by the time the second track, “Tourniquet,” is queued up, it’s clear that Sholi has figured out how to make smart and progressive indie rock that’s unafraid to be welcoming and engaging.

The clear and dry production of Greg Saunier (Deerhoof) gives considerable prominence to each individual element, so the complex rhythm patterns act as both complement and foil to the atmospheric vocals and precise guitar lines. The result is both dense and crystalline, and whatever inclination these folks may have toward indulging math-rock tendencies is muted by their sense of sonic experimentation; from the folk-noise ambience of “Spy in the House of Memories” to the grunge-jazz of “Out of Orbit,” Sholi gives listeners quite a bit to chew on.

Standout Tracks: “Out of Orbit,” “Spy in the House of Memories”

First appeared Feb. 18, 2009 at Blurt.

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