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Ignition

4.8 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 14, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Shoes, the trailblazing guitar-pop combo from tiny Zion, Illinois who in the 1970s prefigured the home-recording DIY boom of the 90s and beyond will release their first album of new material since 1994 on August 14, 2012. Ignition switches on with 15 fresh, vital tracks from Shoes three founding members and songwriters: bassist-vocalist John Murphy, guitarist-vocalist Jeff Murphy, and guitarist-vocalist Gary Klebe, plus longtime stage drummer John Richardson. Self-produced and released on the band s own Black Vinyl Records, Ignition not only carries on Shoes cult-heroic tradition of edibly tuneful, harmony-honeycombed guitar pop; it ventures intriguingly beyond those comfortable (though undeniably rewarding) borders as well. Altogether the work of seasoned, mature musicians whose singular trajectory as 100-percent self-taught, self-created recording artists has been outside-the-box since it began, Ignition showcases Shoes at their technical and artistic peak.

Review

Shoes step out; Free from others' expectations, power-poppers stun with first album since '94. --Mark Caro, Chicago Tribune

Shoes: Ignition (Black Vinyl) Though the very notion of a musical genre called power pop now sounds hopelessly quaint, the music given that designation is often anything but. This new set by much-admired band Shoes, who've been pioneers in the genre since the '70s, is a powerful, wonderful reminder that the best artists in that field often make music that sounds tied to no specific era: It is sharply produced, filled with fresh and dynamic pop songs, and certainly as strong as anything they've ever released. Marvelous textures, great harmonies, and certainly nothing that sounds deliberately retro, Ignition is one of the year's better rock albums--and a good a reason as any to track down every recording this band has ever released. --Dave DiMartino, Yahoo!Music

When we opened up the package and saw this album inside we couldn't believe our eyes... A new album...from Shoes...??!!! We had pretty much come to the conclusion that these cool guys had permanently thrown in the towel because of the world's general hesitation to embrace their heavenly pop music last century. We've always felt that these guys created the cream of the crop in the world of 1970s and 1980s pop music. As such, we were always baffled as to why they didn't attract a larger fan base...? It's probably just a matter of timing and marketing...plus the fact that to truly appreciate Shoes tunes you must hear them at least a dozen times or more before the real meat sinks in. So it's been eighteen years since the last album was released...what has changed? Not a whole lot...thankfully! Gary Klebe, John Murphy, and Jeff Murphy are still writing crystal clear guitar-driven pop tunes and their vocals still sound as mind blowing as they ever did. We were pleased as punch to find that these guys are now keeping their recordings relatively simple and straightforward...since that's what initially drew us to their music in the first place (if you have never heard the beautifully crafted home-recorded album Black Vinyl Shoes do yourself a favor and pick up a copy--it's never too late...). The tunes on the new album rely heavily on those cool trademark Shoes guitars...very reminiscent of some of the band's earlier albums. We were in love with Shoes in the 1970s...and now the love affair continues. Fifteen absolute direct hits here. Our favorite cuts include "Head vs. Heart," "The Joke's On You," "Maybe Now," "Say It Like You Mean It," and "Only We Remain." We can only hope this is the beginning of a brand new series of releases from this criminally overlooked band. Shoes are one of the greatest pop bands of all time. TOP PICK. --babysue.com
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 14, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Black Vinyl Records
  • ASIN: B008LUMSA6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #160,732 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kenneth G. Myers on July 17, 2012
Format: Audio CD
A great comeback album by one of the best power pop bands of all-time. This album shines from beginning to end. Standout tracks include: Sign Of Life, Out Of Round, Head vs. Heart, Hot Mess, Where Will It End. I could go on and on. There isn't a bad track on this cd. If you loved previous albums by Shoes or are a fan of melodic, catchy pop-rock songs, then this cd is for you. It sounds familiar yet fresh and definitely not cookie cutter like most of today's music. Plus they are some of the nicest people in the music business. Support Shoes!
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Format: Audio CD
First, Redd Kross returns after a fifteen year studio hiatus with the best album of their career (Researching the Blues), and a week later the pride of Zion, Illinois tops that by ending an eighteen-year drought with a new release that's as compelling as anything they've ever recorded. With all three founding members (John Murphy, Jeff Murphy and Gary Klebe) joined by their longtime stage drummer John Richardson, the band has self-produced an album that measure up favorably to their 1970s classic, Black Vinyl Shoes. The new productions are more spacious than the crowded 4-tracks of the group's early years, but the refinements only serve to amplify the best aspects of the band's hook-laden power-pop. Their words have matured, but their voices remain youthful, their melodies uplifting and their harmonies effervescent.

Having originally foreshadowed the DIY movement by a couple of decades, it's no surprise that the band's kept pace with evolving technology. Recorded in Gary Klebe's basement studio, the productions deftly layer guitars (including gorgeous runs of 12-string) and voices on top of sharp rhythm tracks, adding piano, keyboards and handclaps here and there. As the band's sound has grown, they've also expanded their musical and lyrical reach. The Stones-y rock of "Hot Mess" is gutsier than the group's more polite pop, and the usual teenage angst has matured with deeper issues of middle age. This isn't to suggest that they can't still conjure the pain of dashed romance, because they can and do with the eternal quandary of "Head vs.
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Format: Audio CD
You never really know what to expect when a band returns with its first album of new material in 18 years. If you like what the band has done in the past, you're hopeful that the new effort is up to snuff.
In the case of Shoes, a band that never has lost sight of catchy melodies, great vocal harmonies and incredible consistency since first releasing its homemade "Black Vinyl Shoes" in 1977, absolutely nothing has been lost in the 18 years since releasing "Propeller."
If you are a fan of songs with more hooks than a fisherman's tackle box, "Ignition" has 'em, staring with the opening track, "Head Versus Heart," all the way through songs like "The Joke's On You," "Diminishing Returns" and the remaining 12 songs on this 15-track album.
This very well may be the best Shoes album ever!
"Ignition" offers the best of what Shoes has always done and takes things a bit further, as several of the songs have more depth than some previous efforts. This also is the best sounding Shoes album ever, and the drumming, provided by longtime Shoes drummer John Richardson, drives all 15 songs.
So many things make Shoes a treasure for those of us who love what many refer to as power pop, not the least of which is that this band that is rare in having three singer/songwriters -- Gary Klebe, and brothers Jeff and John Murphy -- the three original Shoes.
Don't bother trying to find a stinker on this album because you'll have to keep listening over and over in an attempt to do so, and that only will result in falling more in love with "Ignition."
The biggest curveball on "Ignition" is the outstanding "Hot Mess," a song written by all three of the band's members.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Eighteen full years since their last album, "Propeller," (there was also Jeff Murphy's solo "Cantilever," the live "Fret Buzz" and a few archival reissues), the true pride of Zion Illinois return with "Ignition." The Shoes haven't aged at all since the 70's it seems, with the sugar coated hooks, candy coated harmonies and buzz coated guitars all remaining intact since the late 70's. That is not to say Shoes have not matured, but if you thought their brand of Power Pop had gone extinct, "Ignition" will reignite that passion for all things dreamy buzzed.

First things first, though. "Ignition" is almost maddeningly uneven. I get the feeling this might have been better as a 10 song album, as many of the songs miss the immediacy of those classic early albums. Jeff and John Murphy and Gary Klebe still can harmonize like nobody's business and that often overcomes for the weaker of the songs. Besides, when your vision of pop includes both The Beatles (almost any given track here) and The Stones (the whiplike snarl of "Hot Mess"), it's enough to give a power pop geezer like me the frickin' vapors. You also can't help but get giddy from the wonderfully constructed "Out Of Round," recalling some of the brilliant ballads from the genius trilogy of "Present Tense," "Tongue Twister" and "Boomerang."

Okay, I am hyperventilating a bit. But as a one-time card carrying member of Shoes' fan club and a follower since "Black Vinyl Shoes" days, I'd pretty much guessed that these guys had called it a day. Perseverance and talent will out in the case of "Ignition.
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