REVIEW: Shiner, Making Love EP, Anodyne

Posted April 19th, 2007 by eric

Kansas City’s Anodyne Records has reissued Shiner’s once-limited Making Love EP to give it the full promotional push it missed out on the first time around. Shiner’s been defunct now for four years, so I’m not sure why re-release this EP now, especially with no bonus material. Perhaps, Anodyne just wanted to do this EP justice, as it marks a pivotal moment in Shiner’s all-too-brief trajectory. Making Love was originally released prior to 2000’s Starless album in very limited quantities, but it shares little with that album’s streamlined, shellacked crunch.

This EP was a bridge between Shiner’s early colossal, brutish sound and the more sophisticated futurism of its final two full-lengths. It’s comprised of four live tracks, two each from Shiner’s first two records, Splay and Lula Divinia, and then rounded out by an un-ironic take on Bad Company’s “Feel Like Makin’ Love.” Even if you think that’s a shit song, Shiner’s version adds enough bottom end and melodic variants to change your mind, especially when the chorus hits and blows your hair back.

The disparity between the live tracks and the meticulously produced studio cover is pretty extreme. Shiner’s live show obviously erred on the side of aggression. The two songs off Splay hit much harder than their studio counterparts, as Allen Epley let his voice growl out some of the lyrics, straddling the line between singing and screaming. Don’t mistake aggression for sloppiness, however. This band was notoriously tight and powerful. Drummer Tim Dow’s acrobatics will astound even the uneducated listener.

“Third Gear Scratch” and “Cake” off Lula Divinia, Shiner’s next to perfect second album, bristle with intensity and sparks at every chord change. The band’s songwriting skills had improved enormously from Splay to Lula Divinia, as the sinister hooks of “Cake” clearly demonstrate. “Making Love” seems almost out of place next to these other songs, but it hints at Shiner’s evolution for Starless, and, finally on to its swan song, The Egg with electronic flourishes that twitter beneath the heavy lingering bass tones and Epley’s muscular voice.

Ultimately, this EP is a testament to Shiner’s intimidating live prowess, and it should serve as a great introduction to a band that deserves every bit of attention it can get, even post-mortem. Shiner is dead, long live Shiner!

Tags: album-review