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Brian Shapiro Band Release New Album

Philadelphia’s Brian Shapiro Band embraces the time-tested trio configuration for Shapiro’s distinctive theatrical songwriting. Marrying a punky art-rock point of view to this approach results in one of modern music’s most idiosyncratic acts, but they are arguably too individualistic for mainstream success.

I cannot help but love the guy. He writes and plays what he likes, irrespective of its sometimes out of the norm perspective, and often hits on new variations in established lexicons. His latest album You Me Future Now reflects those virtues and evidence genuine growth since last hearing from Shapiro and his band.


“Drip Drip” is a newcomer’s first sign that Shapiro and his band mates don’t care what you want them to play. They are “here” primarily for themselves and if you consent to come along, it is by their rules and predilections. “Drip Drip” embraces Shapiro’s penchant for well-controlled chaos. There is an arrangement here, without a doubt, and it has a clear trajectory, but he embraces a different path to getting there than many others. It is largely an instrumental track, really, as the lyrics are practically throwaway and thus an even bolder move.

“Privacy” travels well-trod territory for Shapiro and his band. The subject matter is where he breaks with the established order, however, as few modern songwriters are tackling such topics in their work. The sinewy yet laser-focused musical attack continually echoes its punk rock influences without ever slipping into painful imitation. Shapiro’s songs boasted their own identity since his debut and continue emphasizing the same strengths.


He has grown as well. The acidic intentions behind “Better In TX” are held in check, for the most part, and his aims are largely satirical. Satire carries its own deep bite, however, and few adult listeners will miss what Shapiro’s riffing on with this track. Building sprightly piano into the track recalling honkytonk playing is a final irresistible touch. “No Other He” and “Are You There, God?” constitute the arguable peaks of Shapiro’s wont for experimenting.

Both arrangements are circuitous, lapping around themselves with a sometimes increasingly odd sense of “shape”. The songs transform and metamorphosize during their duration; the latter track, however, stands out as the pinnacle of his satirical achievement.

Mindy McCall



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