Listen Up: Wednesday, August 20, 2003
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Regal Dime

Shebonics (Already Gone Records)

By Matthew Smith

The too-soon demise of Lucy Loves Schroeder has opened a spot for a kick-ass local, female-led, pop-punk band. But don’t expect Regal Dime to step up just yet.

They sound like a rough-draft version of the Faceless Werewolves. More than that, however, they recall the days of Deep Ellum, when bands jumped onstage to bang away with gleeful abandon, sound quality be damned. Such blasts of nostalgia for youth can, if misused, quickly thin into irritating posturings, retro for retro’s sake. The kids will eat this stuff up, but what about the rest of us?

So here’s the lowdown on Shebonics: The sounds of the instruments are often so much louder than the vocals that the instrumentation becomes a repetitive slab of white noise. This is not to suggest that the band needs to lose its edge so much as it needs to refine it slightly. More vexing are the vocals, which, for the most, are buried so deep in the mix as to remain indecipherable. The two female lead singers of Regal Dime may be delivering Dylanesque profundities or empty homilies. It’s impossible to tell.

All is not lost: Some good hooks and ideas emerge from the muck. “Signs” features a memorable call-response vocal and a nice fade-out. “First Sad Song,” the lone sweet moment here, is a tender poem of regret that finds one of the girls’ voices going from pretty plea to piercing wail.

So, Regal Dime has potential, but Shebonics seems to be a case of a band going into the studio with too little, too soon. Something — call it a gut reaction — leads me to expect marked signs of growth on the band’s next outing.


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