Mike Baron's Review of the new SHAZAM album!!!
Nashville’s The Shazam have been around since 1993, stunning audiences with anthemic, hook-laden rock in the spirit of their two poles, The Who and The Move. They moved beyond those obvious influences on ‘03s stunning TOMORROW THE WORLD, a blast of rawk big enough to fill ten Olympic stadiums.
The Shazam are part of the underground independent pop scene, the guys who gather for the Charlottesville Power Pop Festival, International Pop Overthrow, or SXSW. Shazam have been with Not Lame since 1999’s masterful GODSPEED THE SHAZAM. This is the first disc Not Lame has produced in three years, not counting their annual
INTERNATIONAL POP OVERTHROW compilations. METEOR is a titanic yawp of brilliantly executed hard rock anthems alternating with hooks so sweet they take your breath away. Hans Rotenberry, who wrote and sings the songs, has carved style from extreme rock dynamics crossed with a sweet, supple voice.
"So Awesome" opens the record with a twenty-one guitar salute to the sheer joy of living, lead guitar as hard and elegant as the Golden Gate Bridge. "Don’t Look Down" is a power ballad with guitar written in rock. You could climb the notes like a staircase. Rotenberry’s vocals are winsome and masterful, going from cooed aside
to anthemic bellow in a heartbeat. "Disco at the Fairground" is the best Move song the Move never recorded. Alternating sinister, earth-chewing minor chord guitars with drunken sailor music hall choruses it crunches euphorically. Zappa would approve.
"A Little Better" is a self-improvement song that might have come off WORKINGMAN'S DEAD with a slightly harder rock edge. "Always Tomorrow" is one of those bittersweet masterpieces built around a simple repeating guitar motif overlaid with Rotenberry's
pliant vocals, filled with inchoate longing as is all great pop. "Let It Fly" is more of the same only better, harking back to "Squeeze the Day" from TOMORROW THE WORLD. This is life affirming rock that will have you pumping your fist in the air and yelling "YEAH!"
"Hey Mom I Got the Bomb" contains the lyric:
I got The Bomb, yeah I got The Bomb
If you don't think I'll use it you're ridiculously wrong!
You really have to hear this to get the full effect.
"Time For Pie", the closer, is a distillation of every great arena rock guitar solo you ever heard.
As far as I know you can only order the record from notlame.com, just as all the underground indie popsters are only available online, most with cdbaby.com. You won’t hear about the Shazam in Rolling Stone or Spin. You won’t hear them on Big Radio, certainly not on MTV or VH-1. But the Shazam are merely the tip of the iceberg. And the hardest part of the iceberg too.