Album of the Week: RAVI SHAVI – ‘Special Hazards’

In my part of the world this time of year means it’s dark when you leave for work in the morning, and dark when you leave for home after work. Well lucky for us, the 14 tracks on Ravi Shavi’s ‘Special Hazards‘ are built to stimulate natural sunlight like one of those light therapy lamps.

The album is due some attention and is finally being released on vinyl via Almost Ready Records after the usual industry delays. It’s comprised of pop-infused garage rock written by frontman Rafay Rashid along with his songwriting partner/guitarist Nick Politelli and there is so much to like here. It’s all sneakily addictive songcraft, from the Strokes-like energy flowing through tracks like ‘Special Hazards‘,  ‘Magdalena’, ‘Sixes and Sevens‘ and ‘Masquerader‘, the hefty dose of 60s sugary jangle of ‘Absent Minded Fool‘, and ‘Is It True?‘ as well as a whole lot of ramshackle garage rock like ‘Company‘ and ‘High Hopes‘. Most of these songs come with a built-in earworm like the stand-out ‘Violence‘, which, along with the title track is one of my favorite tracks on the album. And I still get some Prince vibes from frontman Rafay Rashid as well especially on the groovy ‘Casino‘.

The record is conspicuously bright and joyous sounding considering that 2015, the year leading up to the recording had been a tenuous one. The band’s consistent line-up had taken a blow with their second drummer, Andrew Wilmarth, leaving for the West Coast earlier in the year. The other major event was that at around 1:00 AM on October 13th, Rashid fell off a 25-foot wall while filming a music video with labelmates Atlantic Thrills. He broke nine ribs, a collarbone, several vertebrae, and punctured a lung. It took him a while to get back on his feet and off the painkillers.

As soon as he was ready, Rashid quickly got in touch with Harrison Keithline, a longtime friend and ex-bandmate, and a few collaborators from the Providence who scene came in to help out including Ian O’Neil from Deer Tick and Roz Raskin from Nova One. ‘Special Hazards‘ was recorded in January 2016. Ravi Shavi, with the help of engineer/producer Jesse McFadden, recorded 16 songs in six days in the basement of the house in which Rafay Rashid and the bassist, Bryan Fielding lived.

Limited edition of 300 mixed color vinyl, available from ALMOST READY RECORDS.

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One foot in the door
The other one in the gutter

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