The Shilohs – The Shilohs

written by: May 13, 2014
Release Date: May 13, 2014


If John Lennon were still alive, he would either be amused or annoyed with the Shilohs’ new, self-titled album. The Vancouver-based, four-piece wonder has concocted a 12-track tribute record to the Beatles and other ’60s pop bands, though perhaps not intentionally.

Lead singer Johnny Payne’s vocals are so good, you might think Lennon himself has risen from the grave and is singing again after 30-plus years. The Shilohs has a chill, retro, laid back tone, but it’s unimaginative, to say the least. Not only are the Shilohs copying the ’60s with little innovation, but each track is so similar that the album easily grows stale.

Most tracks contain soft-tempo, guitar-driven anthems that explore falling in love and modern relationships. The record doesn’t require listeners to use their cerebrum or delve into the lyrics, which only go knee-deep. On “Strange Connections,” a quirky, love/hate anthem with slow, crunching guitars, soft drums, and slinky bass lines, Payne croons, “I don’t want to play the game anymore/I don’t want to play these games in love anymore/The dogs will howl and waves will roll over on me/Call me or don’t call me.”

Although The Shilohs is fun to listen to, the band is not offering anything new or original. They keep regurgitating the same notes and melodies, over and over again.

“Days of Wine” starts off with eerie feedback before descending into another catchy pop tune. This time, it sounds like the whole band is singing, “The conversation was easy/You put your head on the wall/That was the days of wine/Which had no resolve/You and I are much alike/You talk too much/You talk too much too.” But, like the other tracks on the album, it’s got a mellow, ‘60s pop vibe and Payne sounding off like John Lennon.

But even if they sound like a broken record, at least in this case the four-piece group sound like they are having a good old time recreating those nostalgic melodies that everyone likes to hear once in a while.

The Shilohs have figured out their listeners. The Beatles will never fade away in pop music; even a hundred years from now, they will always relevant. Payne recreates Lennon’s vocals and soars in a tone that’s somehow innocent and seductive at once. He sings like an angel spreading his wings and flying toward the ivory gates of heaven. Payne’s voice is so angelic and timeless that just like the Beatles, it’s never going to go out of fashion. Not only are the Shilohs going to be playing in front of hipsters, but possibly baby boomers who will manage to wiggle their hips and tear up as they hear those classic tunes from their teenage years.

So, would John Lennon be amused or annoyed by The Shilohs? It’s hard to say because the Shilohs obsession with ‘60s pop prevents them from thinking outside the box. But the genuine sincerity to play and sing like their exuberant idols is hard to ignore; they are not inventing a new dish, but recreating a popular recipe that has been tested time and time again.

The Shilohs – The Shilohs tracklist:

  1. “Student of Nature”
  2. “Ordinary People”
  3. “Champagne Days”
  4. “Sister Of Blue”
  5. “Strange Connections”
  6. “Folks On Trains”
  7. “Palm Readers”
  8. “Porch Light”
  9. “Bless Those Boys”
  10. “Down At The Bottom Of Bottomland”
  11. “Queen Light Queen Dark”
  12. “Days Of Wine”