KFJC 89.7FM
Album Review

Christensen, Stefan – “Shake Off The Village” – [C/Site]

Thurston Hunger   8/21/2019   12-inch, A Library

The Connecticut connection that brought us the Reptile Ranch reissue has got his own modern thing going on.  Apparently this came out in 2017, before that Stefan was in and on The Estrogen Highs (KFJC has a 7″). Those pop drop days though ran into more heavy weather it seems. His “solo” outing  (some friends help out) has searing guitars, some brittle drums (David Shapiro) and a dour kind of aire that puts me in mind of New Zealand raw/rawk.  (And I typed that *before* reading online that Stefan is indeed a big fan of the mighty Alastair Galbraith.) This whole album would sit and sound quite nicely by Galbraith’s “Mirrorwork.” Check how “Christfire” here bursts electric out of its ramshackle acoustic beginning, and perishes in raging feedback. At “8AM Sharp” we get a military firing line snare drum, with a two-chord teeter-totter guitar under a deadpan dreary diary reading. Donuts and no-quarter on the rising noose of the local news. Potential soundtrack if there’s ever a sequel to “The Execution of Private Eddie Slovik.” “Mr Marquis” shows up next, this is about as peppy/poppy as Stefan’s going to get in the Village. A big strum of acoustic guitar, with a Clean guitar line guiding his voice. Might be an ode to an old high school teacher, definitely had a different shine than most of the album. The closer “Off Minor” clocks in at nearly 9 minutes of Stefan and friends slugging out a fuzzy fury with an overcast sky, sliding a rock ballad through a Vertical Slit, at 6.5 minutes it morphs from studio to stage to jam its way down an amplifier’s throat. I dug “Christfire” and “Over Scrawl” (with some of that kinda AG backwards sounding guitar/ebow/wft beauty). That “Scrawl” bleeds on into “Silverware” so be careful….or don’t and just enjoy the ride.

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