Back in my playing music days I met my fair share of musicians. Some were mouth-breathing, snake charmers and some were nefarious shit talkers. But they weren’t all bad. Some were worthy of emulation and some were worthy of admiration.
Some musicians were just flat out interesting.
Dominic Lavoie was interesting.
Dom played in a band called Dominic and the Lucid and we shared more than a few bills together and a hefty amount of laughs. Dom and his band mates, Chuck and Nate, were good dudes- good dudes defined. I watched their band evolve and their sound develop. But all along was the tease and underpinning of lushness. Even as a three-piece, they sounded bigger than that. And on record, most notably 2008’s Season of the Sun, they created dense soundscapes around their super catchy pop songs. Dominic and the Lucid was great, but it always felt like it was a precursor to something bigger.
They were one of the bands I was always curious to see what road they would go down.
Years later that road has led Dom and Chuck to Sha Sha Sha, a seven piece collective of Portland mainstays and mercenaries. A few months ago they released their debut EP, VanDyke Brown. Easiest way to sum it up is to pin it with the same label I pinned Lavoie with years ago in the clubs and bars of sunny Portland, Maine- interesting.
It’s at times psychedelic, it’s frequently free form and loose, and it’s a perfect showcase for Lavoie’s boundless talents as a singer and songwriter. Two drummers, roughly 8,000 keyboards and enough harmonies to rival the Polyphonic Spree. An EP is an injustice. It’s the tip of the ice berg. 5 songs is a taste- enough to get the gist and enough to make you want more. I’m sure making a project like Sha Sha Sha work is an endeavor, given that they come from the music scene in Portland and the fact that nearly every member in one band plays in at least two or three others in that town. Practice space is not the enemy for Portland musicians and bands. It’s schedules. So I imagine such limitations only allowed for this EP; allowed for just these five songs.
Sha Sha Sha gets a pass.
Next time at least six songs would suffice.
This morning I watched the new video for their song, “Motherbird,” and while I’m not entirely sure what the video is about, I’m way too sure that it’s a damn near beautiful song.
I think it might be about moving away from bad influences, but I could be wrong. I am from time to time. My wife will be the first to remind you that I thought Grown Ups would be a good movie.
But moving on…
For your consideration, Sha Sha Sha. Big sounds, big aspirations and big harmonies.
Photos: Dylan Verner