Fans In The City
Independent Release, 2005
REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 03/11/2005
Shirtlifter's music is unusual for the place he comes from. He hails form Ontario Canada, but Fans In The City, Shirtlifter's third effort, is as European as any house-music record could be.
Each track on Fans In The City has all the typical attributes of what defines "house-music." His beats aren't too addictive, but have a strangely attractive tempo to them. His songs do lack the sense of melody that is commonly associated with music driven by the synth, but this is house music, which isn't supposed to be melodious.
Though Shirtlifter's music strongly adheres to the rules of house music, he thankfully doesn't integrate two key elements, which make the music of this genre painfully monotonous, not to mention annoying: eight-minute songs consisting of a cycle of thudding beat-pattern, repeating again and again, with nothing else happening to the song; and "synthesized" vocals that sing a couple of lines in, which go unnoticed, due to the boredom-driven beats that seem to last for eternity.
Fans In The City, with a total of ten tracks, is less than fifty minutes in long, with each number having some identity of its own, differentiating from the others, which is saying a lot for an album that could easily have been fraught with unbearable ennui.
Fans In The City is more than decent as a whole. But it has weak points, which don't ruin it, but could have been improved to a great extent. "God A Relax" -- a song about Shirtlifter's frustration on not being able to find a parking spot -- and "Violation" fall into the category of songs that lack any basic structure. Such songs, however, if treated in a right way, could also be the an album's best; for example U2's "Mofo" (from Pop) or New Order's "Fine Time" (from Technique). But, on the other hand, if not treated right, these numbers could sound slapdash, which is the case with "God A Relax" and "Violation."
Fans In The City lies somewhere between the hardcore house music style of the likes of Daft Punk and the rather accessible form of house music like that of Dirty Vegas, with a stronger inclination towards the latter style than the former one. Shirtlifter's music could do with further honing and polishing; nevertheless he is a mature artist who aims to make dance records for serious listeners.