Review: Shinyribs, Late Night TV Gold
Austin's jolly purple joy-giver shines light into the midnight hour
"I've been singing to my phone, staying up all night long," croons Kevin Russell deep into Late Night TV Gold, fifth Shinyribs studio full-length not including 2018 Xmas LP The Kringle Tingle. Man behind the moniker, Austin's jolly purple joy-giver confirmed as much in person this spring. Cycling around to 2010 Shinyribs debut Well After Awhile, the Gourdian knot flew solo on Late Night TV Gold, holing up in his home studio deep into the darkest pandemic nights.
"There's a crack in everything, that's where the light goes," intones a world-weary Russell in the key of Leonard Cohen on opener "How the Light Knows." All the stages of pandemic – doom, tears, thankfulness, resolution – present and accounted for. Yet this party of one never staggers into the downbeat or desolate, just the midnight hour, setting a blue-collar tempo on "Picking Up Tears" and "Working Woman." Banjo strum in the left channel and electric pluck in the right, the latter chair boogies on syncopated handclaps.
Abandon in the face of annihilation tramps in party percussion, horn honks, and rippling guitars ("Party While You Still Can"), while indulging in bleary, belly-rubbing barrier reef hulas ("2Me2U") and mariachi-uke subterfuge ("24 Hrs From Tulsa"). Not exactly El DeBarge, "Rhythm of the Night" pulses a Miami Vice vibe: electro currents, craggy falsetto, and neon axes. Cue Glenn Frey.
"There's a fissure in the gloom, that's how the light gets in," Russell ultimately acknowledges. Late Night TV Gold delivers said rays with 3am infommercial surrealism.