Review: Shoresh “Black Box”

Shoresh “Black Box”

12 May, 2011 Bobby Jo Valentine

Israel native Shoresh comes out strong with his first full-length album Black Box, and it is a musical treasure. Shoresh is an adept lyricist, delving in mysteries and abstract ideas and knitting them together to make for an intriguing listen. His melodies are simple but profound, merging classical chord progressions with fresh hooks and clever lyrics.  What comes together is an album that won’t be for everyone, but carries its own distinctive beauty, power, and poetic genius.

“Back Home” starts out the album with an interesting electric guitar line ticking along a fast waltz to a story of growing up. Shoresh takes on the role of a father giving advice to his son.  “Know your way back home/know your way back home.” The track is short, intriguing, and shows off Shoresh’s ability to paint a great sound and lyric landscape.

Shoresh brings a nostalgic, old rock feel with “Ghost Town,” an anti-ballad with the timing of “House of the Rising Sun” and haunting lyrics. Pun intended. But there are some great lines here, and the song flows nicely through the metaphor of a relationship that has become empty and stale. There are some killer lines in this song. “Everybody’s gone away/and I’m not here to stay/smoke is everywhere today.” The track is simple, powerful, and slows to a dusty, western finish.

The album falters slightly with “Uncontrollable,” a song that has a slow, plodding feel, and waits until two minutes into the song to have any sort of dynamic change. It quickly jumps back into form, however, with “Weary,” another eerie track about the cost of love that takes too long to blossom.  “Times are changing and I’m still patient for you.” There are some honest, raw, beautiful lyrics here, and the feel of the track is excellent, with an electric guitar simulating a raindrop sound in the backdrop.  “We’re not getting younger/Every day your beauty fades/You are weary, weary.” Almost every line is full of vivid imagery, and Shoresh sings with passion and really brings the heartache out well in this song.

The album sails along well and has a great flow thanks to good melody sensibility and well-written lyrics by Shoresh, with the electric guitars wandering in and out of the tracks adding just the right edge and attitude. “Glance” is an example of this attitude, with an almost Indian-style guitar solo and just the right amount of tongue in cheek. “Big Fish” is a goofy, silly, upbeat song that at first listen seems like it doesn’t belong in the album, but actually breaks up the slower ballad-style songs.

Two other tracks will really stand out to the listener.  One is“Soaking Out,” which has a definite young Red Hot Chili Peppers influence. The song is joyful and buoyant, with great chord progressions and bright, fuzzy electric guitar hooks. The second one is the closing title track, a sprawling epic following a relationship at its brightest and darkest moments. Once again, Shoresh proves his skill as a talented lyricist, bringing both charm and melancholy into his words, and carries the listener easily through the seven and a half minutes with powerful images and a great vocal performance.

Black Box won’t be for everybody. There are times when it will feel a little slow to a generation hyped up on autotune and mega-bass. But Shoresh isn’t writing for those people. For the listener with a heart, a soul, and the ability to appreciate powerful poetry and well-placed arrangements, “Black Box” will be a revelation and a jewel in their musical crown.

Review by Bobby Jo Valentine
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)