Published Feb 11, 2019As vocalist and guitarist for Montreal quartet Suuns, Ben Shemie has helped provide Canada with one of the most consistently solid experimental outfits. On A Skeleton, his debut solo LP, Shemie strives for something a bit looser and less structured — an improvised pop album.
Taken from live experiments Shemie crafted while on tour, the ten-song/32-minute album was recorded in a single take, straight through with zero overdubs. Using primitive electronics and dim skeletal drum beats, much of A Skeleton resembles early '80s minimal wave. Anchored and strengthened by Shemie's penchant for engrossing melodies, "Baby Blue," "A Skeleton" and "Differently" find the musician stretching and contorting his unique vocals.
As each track blends into each other, there seems to be a connecting through line across A Skeleton alongside peaks and valleys of experimentation, as "I Know You Feel the Same" cops the Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows" in the most un-novel way and "Do Do Do" utilizes Shemie's breathing as a real time accenting sound effect.
On his debut, Ben Shemie has created a skeleton on an album that comes off nearly perfect. (Hands in the Dark)