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Shugaazer - 2003 Shift

ARTIST: Shugaazer
ALBUM: Shift
LABEL: Atenzia
YEAR: 2003


LINEUP: Paul Laine - vocals, guitars, keyboards * Christopher Matheson - guitars * Roland Churchill - drums * Shane Demers - bass

TRACK LISTING: 01 Kozmonaut * 02 When Ya Gonna Break My Heart * 03 Song For Lennon * 04 Stepped Into My Universe * 05 Something Worth Waiting For * 06 Beautiful * 07 Here Without You * 08 California * 09 Get The Hell Outa My House * 10 Enough

After I heard 40ft Ringo's debut album 'Funny Thing', I wondered if anything else Atenzia Records released in 2003 could top it. Then came Melodine's superb 'Out Of Your Hands' opus to do just that, and now Canadian rockers Shugaazer have delivered a record that surpasses both those albums. Yes, 'Shift' is that good and builds spectacularly on the modern rock tracks Shugaazer vocalist and co-songwriter Paul Laine has contributed to Danger Danger over recent years to create one of the best rock albums of 2003 by some distance.

The Songs
Opening track 'Kozmonaut', with its irresistible melody, huge chorus and powerful nu breed groove encapsulates Shugaazer's modern, melodic sound perfectly, while the punchy 'Beautiful' - a cynical look at the shallow world of celebrity - is even better and is driven by Laine's incredible vocals and his flawless, glossy production. 'Stepped Into My Universe' is another superb rocker with a hint of a psychedelic edge to it and 'California' shares a similar vibe with Chris Matheson's guitars cranked up once again. But Shugaazer know just when to mix things up as well, with stunning mid-tempo tunes 'When Ya Gonna Break My Heart' and 'Song For Lennon' showcasing the band's diversity impressively. 'Something Worth Waiting For' is a ballad of epic proportions, the pop-flavoured 'Here Without You' is something different altogether and album closer 'Enough' picks up the pace once more to provide a final seal of quality to a magnificent debut.

In Summary
From start to finish, 'Shift' is an album crammed full of great songs that oozes class, individuality and diversity. In an all too homogenous modern rock scene, Shugaazer are a welcome, refreshing alternative. As Laine himself sings on 'Song For Lennon', this is the choice of a new generation

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