I live off love I feed off love I breath off love
I think of love I drink of love I sink in love
And in the middle of the night I need my love
I need to grieve and need to need and be in love
My love is gonna come to me
**La petite se ha enamorado. Aguanten el chaparrón.
... just to feed your insane curiousity... [e-limbo*]With all the talk about Devendra Banhart and Joanna Newsom this year it's easy to forget that there is an endless amount of curious folk musicians in the world. While the aforementioned have clearly made strong cases for themselves as talented but clearly odd characters, perhaps just as interesting is the life and music of Keith Zarriello, aka The Shivers. Not only a singer/songwriter but also a writer, actor, and filmmaker, Zarriello's one-to-three member band The Shivers is an indie-folk outfit that combines lonely and heartfelt songwriting with exhibitionist performance art.
It's difficult to imagine a more surreal situation than realizing the musician you've come to see is the same person as the disabled homeless veteran (Zarriello in disguise) trying to force his way into the club or watching a man with hilariously fake facial hair shaving himself on stage and accidentally cutting himself in the process, leaving him and his all-white props covered in blood for the remainder of the performance. The Shivers are a band that is clearly interested in performance – not just the simple act of standing on stage and playing music but an event that wholly engages the spectator with both sight and sound.
Unfortunately these performances don't translate to audio recordings but there's still much to enjoy in Zarriello's songs. The Shivers' debut album "Charades" is a 20-track collection of songs and interludes of varying styles and quality that is, for the most part, successful in its bid at creating a unique world that is not too far removed from conventional forms and structures. At its best, with tracks like "L.I.E.", "Kisses", and "Maybe, Baby", Zarriello is a master of song and its worst with inconsequential instrumental tracks, "Charades" has peaks and troughs but never causes discomfort. Zarriello's voice is strong, confident, and soulful sounding something like a more wounded Nicolai Dunger or Van Morrison but clearly having qualities that are all his own.
Perhaps the greatest influence on Zarriello's music is his affiliation with asexual/anti-sexual movements. The loneliness in The Shivers' music stems from his fear of and disgust with sex and the lyrics hint at this throughout. Illustrated perfectly with the album's cover photo – Zarriello standing on the white beach on a hot summer day dressed in black winter clothing – "Charades" is a collection of songs about alienation, sex, lust, and loneliness. It is, without a doubt, one of the most promising debuts to have been released this year.- Nick Hennies