Brian Shapiro Band – “All That We See” (LP)
“When I think about how I want the world to be, many things come to my mind; some realistic, some are flat-out lies.” Thus opens the Brian Shapiro Band’s debut album All That We See with the track “Three Things.” Instantly, listeners are made privy to Brian Shapiro’s devil-may-care attitude towards traditional restraints in regards to singing and performing. Instead, he and his band are here to push musical boundaries as much as they can, dabbling in a variety of influences and sounds most might be afraid to cite, let alone pay homage to.
According to the band’s website, the list of influences run deep. Most bands might swim in a bathtub and call that bathwater their influence, and if that’s the case, so be it. The Brian Shapiro Band is respectful of your bathtub but they’re diving headfirst into the ocean, only coming up for air if they can flail as much as they want while doing so. Coming out of Philadelphia in the middle of the 2020 pandemic, it made sense for a band as eclectic as this to throw any and everything at the wall to see what would stick. The end result was an album as thoroughly varied in style as it was thorough in its message.
One could say the overall listening experience can be a lot to get through upon an initial , knee-jerk response, but with high risk comes high reward and the stylings of bands such as The B-52’s and The Clash, as well as The White Stripes and Tom Waits, demand a similar amount of patience. Seeing all four mentioned acts in Brian Shapiro’s portfolio of inspirations instantly helped the album click into place. All That We See slowly but surely elevates itself above the status of a typical rock release over the course of its reckless, yet precise, nine songs.
The showmanship within All That We See delivers an album positively bursting at the seams with a flair for the dramatic. Brian Shapiro is more than up to the task for delivering on this with his own instincts certainly feeling drawn towards the stage. A similar vocalist to draw comparisons from Shapiro with is the esteemed frontman for Talking Heads, David Byrne, whom Shapiro seems to model his own shrieking, erratic style after. The influence is most evident in unchained album-closer “Le Chien,” but the DNA is sprinkled throughout. Most impressive, however, is how the large swath of very apparent influences stuffed into a mere nine songs don’t overpower the core unique voices at the center of the band’s own artistry.
The Brian Shapiro band is comprised of, in addition to Shapiro, Ben Kutner-Duff and Ed Moman. Kutner-Duff tackles drums and has the Berklee College of Music in his arsenal, and Moman focuses on bass guitar and has had the privilege of embarking on a few national tours. These three gifted musicians more than hold their own within The Brian Shapiro Band, and will certainly continue to do so for years to come. All That We See is available now to purchase and stream.
Patrick Orr, posted by Zachary Rush