Makeshift Shelters

Something So Personal

Written by: TL on 01/03/2015 16:32:23

Attention pop-punk/emo fans worldwide, it is imperative that you pay attention right now, for with the out-of-nowhere emergence of Washington/Boston quartet Makeshift Shelters, you are in grave danger of missing out on one of the best releases in these genres since the last Wonder Years record. You are in this danger because there's a risk that you could shrug the band off at first listen, as simply the next version of female-fronted indie/pop-punk groups like Chumped or Lemuria. Looking just past the surface though, there is a dynamic between the singing of guitarist/keyboardist Ella Boissonnault and her band that is positively to die for.

Instrumentally, the group's sound takes departure in a style similar to Jimmy Eat World in their prime, all thick sounding bass and sentimental minor leads trickling down the background, sprinkled with Motion City Soundtrack-ish playful keyboards and occasional mathy noodling plus horn arrangements alá what you would hear in your typical "emo revival" band. The particular combination sets a cinematic, romantic scene in which Boissonnault throws her voice around with brilliant charisma and diction, sounding confessional yet frontwomanly entertainer-aware at the same time. Admittedly she does get a bit shrill when she forces her high notes, marking an area of potential improvement for her, but the hooks she sings are devilishly catchy all the same, and she sounds comparatively excellent when she instead presses her notes roundly against the floor of her range.

With the vocal melodies thus ensuring instantly engaging hooks to keep the promises of the alluring overall atmosphere, Makeshift Shelters have a perfect platform to come across with their lyrics better than many other bands. And that's where the record's title of "Something So Personal" definitely becomes justified, because it's clear that Boissonnault has opened up and delivered an unusually honest, female version of the young heartbreak experience. Songs like "(This Song Is Definitely Not About A Boy)" and "Lighterfluid" are nothing short of bitchy, cooking up instantly catchy pop-punk tunes while airing dirty laundry and rejecting romance all together, while bringing to mind old Brand New songs like "Mixtape" or "Seventy Times Seven" with how they might essentially be petty, yet they are still too infectious and well-delivered to not like anyway.

Better yet though, Makeshift Shelters move past such wallowing pretty soon, and already in the simple "Hips", the half tempo chorus moves up way close with a lyrical hook of "You asked if you could touch my hips, because you like the way it feels, I like the way they fit with yours" and evokes exactly the sense of anxiety of such an intimate situation. "New Coast" builds an escape fantasy up from mellow acoustic beginning to yearning climax and moving on "Grayest Place" is just a perfect song, culminating in a wonderful bridge-into-outro. "Overflowing" impresses with a weighty rhythmicity and some frustration from the intimacy zone voiced in the refrain "I'll never get what gets you off!", and before the album closes "I'll Be The One That Comes Around" also provides a strong example of a simple, acoustic change-of-pace ballad.

The verdict then, is do not sleep on "Something So Personal". As mentioned, Ella Boissonnault has room to get more powerful in her higher parts, and in terms of obvious instrumental signatures, the album admittedly has a bit fewer than your textbook mainstream-breaking hit-parade. But aside from those tiny weaknesses, you get a brand new band with a compelling, emotive sound, where the time it takes to make the connection between liking the music and getting into the content is kept unusually short, because the group has been talented enough at knowing their hooks and building their narratives around them. Potentially this could be a "Your Favorite Weapon" for the girls, yet the boys out there should definitely not be too cool to get in on it as well.

Download: Hips, Grayest Places, Overflowing, (This Song Is Definitely Not About A Boy)
For The Fans Of: Farewell Continental, Bandit, The Narrative, Jimmy Eat World

Release date 25.02.2015
Broken World Media

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