September 14, 2018 Shim – Shim (Album Review)
Shim Moore, formerly of Sick Puppies, is finding his identity as a solo artist and bringing to light what he knows best – music. The Australian singer-songwriter dug through the trenches of his mind and fought the battle for an album that has been fives years coming, and now his self-titled record, Shim, is being released Friday, September 14th via BFD, brought to you by The Orchard.
After pouring himself into his former band for fifteen plus years, the singer felt lifeless once all was stripped away from him. When CrypticRock spoke to Shim earlier this year, he spoke about what he calls “the emotional headfuck” that came from the aftermath: “It fucking hurts; it really sucks having to dig yourself out of this hole,” he said.
If there is one thing Shim knows, it is transforming and molding that pain into beautiful, powerful tunes that shine bright. Lead single “Hallelujah” has already found itself in Top 25 on current Rock radio and clearly intends to maintain its top chart positioning.
Shim put matters into his own hands after multiple attempts to find a new home in other bands and producing, still not finding the rhythm to his own drum. He made a studio in his apartment and did what he needed to for himself. “If you don’t do this yourself, it’s never going to get done. Just do it.” With the shed of blood, sweat, and tears, the self-titled record displays the grit of new ideas and sounds, the balance of rock-your-socks-off riffs and slow, intimate ballads, and the evolution of raw emotion.
The record is full of powerful anthems that drive as an inspiration for the listener. “Our Time” is the first track that feels like the album truly starts developing the sound of “Shim” and defining the album as a whole. The synth and string intro separates Shim from his past, and it’s evident he isn’t afraid to explore new territory musically. The anthem is a message to listeners to let their freak flag fly, boldly hold their heads up high, and to keep on keepin’ on when others tell them how to live. In a world full of choices, “Kaleidoscopes” holds inspiration for a feel-good melody that feeds off passion and life. It’s a hymn for the dreamers and a reminder that where you are is where you’re meant to be. Piano keys and synths keep the atmosphere light and hopeful, carrying Rock elements in the chorus while imaging the world at the listener’s fingertips.
The theme of defeating all odds continues through “Crucified,” a track that shares sound resemblances to Pop Evil’s “A Crime To Remember” – but is a triumph in its own way. The track not only excellently displays Shim’s vocal skills, but is also well-composed of a balance between mid-tempo and ballad-like mixes. Tambourine trickles through the chorus as grungy guitars support Shim’s stubbornness and determination of taking the shots. His aggression lights a fire through his witty “I’m still alive” comeback that echoes beneath the whirling guitar.
“A Brand New War” is bound to gain immediate attention from listeners with the same aggression – fists in the air and ready to fuck shit up. An angry yelp of “This shit doesn’t even work!” is the first thing the listener will hear before rumbling drums, rattling riffs, and thick bass set a war-like attitude for the opening track. Shim shows he’s eager to get back in the game and take back what’s his. Full of confidence and defiance, he gives the album a heavy start, which can only be anticipated in live shows, too.
The grunge and confidence stands strong in “Sting Like A Bitch,” as well, spewing sarcasm and honesty in a comical yet boastful sense. Short, wispy vocals give off the impression he’s done biting his tongue regarding said prick in the track. A stomping drum beat gives the illusion of a clock ticking, and time is running out before he/she gets what they deserve. The bridge and final chorus make an unexpected turn, the surprise of twisting guitar with high-pitched tones spiraling down.
Holding a vulnerability like never before, “Broken Men” is the “angel/devil” contrast that marks a stand-out track on the record. The message lies raw and honest, guiding the listener to follow his/her instincts, heart, and passion. Sweet guitar creates a euphoric atmosphere, steadily light and growing. The vocals for the second verse draw raw and rigid, but are complemented by falsetto in the background. By the end of the track, Shim unifies self-thoughts to a collective group of faith as the anthem ends with a thumping beat and uplifting vocals that paint an image of angels singing.
Just when the album seems to come to an end, keys send a haunting tone to the listener until Shim’s defeated voice confesses and cries out; he’s taking the broken pieces of his human shell and finding his own redemption. Deep-toned strings come in halfway through, softly dancing as he pours his heart and thoughts out. The world stands still during the longest track on the record, “Don’t Wake Me Up,” relating as the words that every depressive-type wishes they could say. It’s evident the burdens and demons trouble Shim, as his voice breaks when he says, “I can’t take anymore.“ What begins as a heartbreaking statement turns to tear jerking story where he shifts the point-of-view from first person to a message to the listener.
Despite the gloomy pivot at the last track, the vulnerability and humanity drive emotions beyond what could have been expected from the singer-songwriter; Shim has evolved from his previous association and is now making a name for himself headstrong. Musically, the balance and composition elements have transferred from one project to another, yet showing further growth with this record. Evidence shows no limitations or boundaries for the Aussie, and listeners can appreciate the lyrical strength and purpose, as well his openness about faith. For these reasons, CrypticRock gives Shim 4.5 out of 5 stars.