SHINY GNOMES - Searchin' For Capitola

Shiny Gnomes - Searchin' For Capitola

10 songs
44:42 minutes
***** ***


The Shiny Gnomes are a band that I have heard of in the past, but I canít really say that I ever consciously listened to their music. This is surprising, considering that the band has been founded in the mid-Eighties, and has released over the more than thirty years of their career a lot of albums, making Searchiní For Capitola already their eleventh longplayer.

Apart from a new bass player, the line-up hasnít changed much over the years. Looking at a band photo reveals three men and one woman probably in their mid-Fifties, and while they may not have the fiery fury of their younger peers, they still show a safe hand when it comes to writing their psychedelic pop gems. Psychedelia and pop are the main components of the music, but the band smartly sprinkles some other genres like folk, Americana, soul, funk and prog into their songs, so that you wonít feel bored throughout the three quarters of an hour ride.

The opener Feel Like Starting Again starts quietly with a mellow synth line, undistorted guitar and discreet cymbals, with the singer coming across like a storyteller, before one and a half minute into the song the pace picks up, a mellotron joins in, giving the track a prog-lite feeling. The following Let It Go is a pure pop song, with warm Eighties sounding synth chords, and itís from here onwards that the keyboarderís collection of vintage synths makes sure that every song will surprise you with different sounds. For Us is another track that starts out slowly before adopting a certain cowboy country rhythm. Rivers And Mountains is a very soulful track. Without wanting to detail every single track, I want to point out the Americana sounding Grimmer Days, the majestic Capitol Of Sky with its very proggy second half and also the concluding instrumental Capitola which sounds like a surf tune listened to on a cheap pocket radio.

Some may find Searchiní For Capitola a little too much on the harmless side, and even I have discovered myself yearning for a little more grit in the cogs, but in the end itís the carefree sunny atmosphere that prevails. These guys have been performing together for nearly a third century, and it shows in the ease that they have with each other. Itís not garage rock, but psychedelic pop, and even though released in the Autumn, it might make some of the short days ahead a little brighter.

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