Shemboid is the artistic alter ego of respected Chester singer/songwriter Shem Sharples and was active from 2004 to 2015. The concept was very experimental in nature and forms a bit of a missing link between Shem’s wild DIY garage days with cult Chester band Rev Rev around the 80’s/90’s/00’s and the musical craftsmanship of his later solo releases.
I’m Invisible Now, Only You Can See me is a re-release of the 2004 debut, a unique blend of guitar driven warped out, ambient psyche from an artist way ahead of his time. The Album is being released via Schott’s List who are taking pre-orders for CDs. A number of stockists in Chester will also be carrying limited numbers of the album. The album will also be available on all major platforms.
Fans of psychedelic rock and garage I’m sure will appreciate the experimentation in Shemboid’s sound. From the off Haircut opens the album with the steady rhythm of strummed guitar chords, surrounded by an array of sound effects and motifs. It’s incredibly atmospheric; very dream like with hints of eerie chills on occasion. The vocals seem to float amongst the instrumentation – it’s this stylistic sound that really enhances the dream-like feel. The guitar is placed slightly higher than the vocals in the mix, for other genres its usually the other way around. Sparks Fly brings a fascinating array of soundscapes. What appear to be flowing wave effects remain in the background for the majority of the track, and crackling sparks can be herd later on. The main melody is predominantly guitar focused. Overlapping guitar tones and melodies dance in and out of each other, and it has a great feel of movement. The percussion, along with the crashing waves, are the main constant, grounding sound throughout, allowing the experimentation occur in the instruments layered above. It’s good to hear the contrasting sung and spoken vocals; they add an extra layer of texture to the sound.
Reach Behind Your Ears is, essentially, 1 minute and 49 seconds of feedback, distortion and the odd distinguishable guitar motif. And it works. I always think that one should push the boundaries of music production, and seeing Shemboid take a sound which is often considered to be unpleasant and unwanted, and turn it into the focal point of a track, is rather brilliant. it’s Going to be More of Less has a fantastic haunting feel. The layered vocals, as they cut out intermittently, have a ghost-like quality. The droning synths accompanying emphasise the theatrical effect of the track. The bass line in Scraper has a great hook. Having a catchy riff amongst the more experimental instrumentation introduces some interesting variety into the mix. Segueing nicely into Platform 14 it’s incredible where inspiration for music can originate. The Samples of a train station announcement, door alarms and a running diesel train engine mixes brilliantly with Shemboid’s instrumental choices.
I’m Invisible Now, Only You Can See Me is a dynamic album that explores so many ideas across the tracks. The ingenious use of techniques across the instruments, sound effects and samples create a great mixture of soundscapes and textures. The dream-like atmosphere remains, in various forms, throughout the album and this contributes to the overall feel of the album.