Shoe.’s pop is ambitious, which is a gateway to either "glorious" or "garbage." To its credit, Shoe. splits right down the middle here. And the band wears its influences; album opener "Sleepwalker" feels like a four-minute reinterpretation of Radiohead’s entire Amnesiac album — how’s that for ambition? Mostly, though, the songs are primed for musical interpretation and wank; the best example is "When the World Gets in the Way," which sounds like They Might Be Giants tinkering with the Beatles’ "A Day in the Life" outtakes. "Small" is lush enough to thrive despite a tired closing cadence of "You’ll never notice me," while the dreamy "Hangover" is more pleasantly laid-back than the title would suggest. Outside those songs, the disc fails spectacularly, spitting out mismatched harmonies and melodies that falter like a drunken Phish doing piss-poor Cornershop imitations. Shoe. is definitely best left to fans of adventurous pop, but not those who dig deep enough to discover the Shoes, Chicago’s lamented pop sensations.
Friday, June 2, at 313.Jac (624 Brush St., Detroit; 313-962-7067) with Cowboy Messiah.
Gary Blackwell writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.