Old school texting lives on through U Serious Boi?, a rip-roaring six-track EP from the Fife-based rockers. Are Shambolics serious, though? Balloons not quite deflated and definite indie rock instrumentals within, Shambolics take a mellow approach to their efforts on this one, particularly on Living in Shadows. Inviting this instrumental flourish may be, the baritone pitch from lead vocalist Lewis McDonald, like many up-and-comer bands, is enough to throw off those expecting an easier entry. Mount the hurdle, experience the dreamy pop vagueness. Lyrically waning opener Like a Breeze is as gentle lyrically as its title would suggest. Yet U Serious Boi? does have some legs to it.
Nothing remarkable as it fits heavy synth beats to the interjections of backing vocalists based within the band. Shambolics is squandered potential. They linger long after their tracks end. Whether this is through the unity of group members presented in their affectionate and pub-crawling music videos or through their frequent desire to uphold and spotlight the instrumental sections is up for debate. Probably the latter, most of the tracks on this EP hold a steady groove but hold within them decent percussion work and memorable basslines. Other than these rhythm sections, it is hard to piece together any memorable riffs, any consistencies which add to the “la, la, la, la’s” which feel shoehorned and a dire way of bringing about a break from repeating the title of its track.
Affectionate attempts on Living in Shadows try and give those acoustic punches, paired with an electric guitar to back up the soppy momentum. Fife Gallagher. A little empty, a little obvious, but not the worst collection of tunes since the impressive instrumentals are given the chance and space to breathe a little. Standard bits and pieces, Shambolics provide an EP which gives them firm and favourite pieces to perform when they tour. Nothing much more, just generalities which sprint across the mind, looking for a place to lodge and never quite finding it. Take it or leave it, as the track itself, of effortless and empty quality, suggests. Shambolics are trying though, there is no fault to be had there, just in the effectiveness of their efforts and absence of uniqueness.
Not enough to blow you away, not enough to insult a listener. Talent is there, buried underneath the Liam Gallagher nasal impression and amid the sea of gesticulations of broad experiences. The type of band to have a John Lennon print on their kitchen wall and a black and white Chanel poster next to it. Never Gonna Change flutters through the usual run of moving on and around the world, mentally and physically. It is as close as Shambolics get to something raw and real, a definite high for an EP which struggles to find a unique patch to work in. Instead, Shambolics appear unsure of their direction, jangly bits of guitar here, pursuing what makes The Lathums and The Reytons so popular yet so deplorable. More of the same, but there is hope for the group, which can still carve out something earnest and honest. Something which sounds different to all the other Bandcamp purchases hopefully.