Shmu is back and still sounds like 10 of your favorite bands all playing on top of each other


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To say Shmu‘s Sam Chown likes to make densely layered music is akin to saying that Jackson Pollack liked to spatter paint occasionally. His just-released third album, Lead Me to the Glow, isn’t quite as kaleidoscopic as Shhh!!!!, the 2015 masterpiece of organized chaos that first brought him to our attention here at TWBITW. But in places, it still sounds like a music festival with a killer lineup and way too much bleed between stages.

“Hololeaps” is yacht rock capsized by a chillwave tsunami; “All Will Be Erased” starts out like a small army of broken tape decks simultaneously eating the collected solo works of every member of Animal Collective (plus a TLC cassingle) before veering into full-blown prog-rock territory. There’s humor, too; “Your Favorite God” features a heavenly pre-recorded phone greeting: “You’re about to be connected to a special god! Your call is very important to us!”

Chown describes the album as a “combination of post-internet vaporwave aesthetics utilizing sampling techniques used as a backdrop to write honest to God songs.” I’m not sure what the hell that means, but trust me, it translates to an awesome listening experience.

Lead Me to the Glow is available via Bandcamp, as is the rest of Shmu’s mind-expanding catalog. For a taste, here’s that aforementioned yacht rock tsunami, “Hololeaps.” (Note the killer album art, too, but Giant Claw’s Keith Rankin.)

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