November 23, 2006

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The Shimmers, The Way You Shine
Transit of Venus Records, 2006

A folkie supergroup of sorts comprised of people who’ve played for Camper van Beethoven, Marah and Baby Flamehead, the Shimmers successfully avoid generic Birkenstock nonsense by adding elements of Zep and Cowboy Junkies to their mix. As with most supergroups, their ego-orgy was brief, taking place between 1995 and 1997 and resulting in a loose collection of recordings that weren’t completed until 2004 and not shrinkwrapped until now. Hollywood wardrobe director Eden Daniels is possessed of a gentle but not coddling warble that works well within the band’s experimental approach to reinventing Jimmy Page as a Starbucks fixture (“Sun Goes Down,” “You Want More”), and her harmonizing with ex-lover (guess why the band broke up) Dave Bielanko in “The Letter” is dreamily pretty. The Cowboy Junkies part of the equation appears in the form of pop-country inventions that come interspersed with Bielanko’s introspective picking, leaving it an album that’s a shade more amped than Jewel’s debut but nonetheless appropriate for vegging by the creek. B-

— Eric W. Saeger