Nothing beats using the end of the year slow-down to try to catch up on some CDs that fell through the cracks during the earlier part of the year.
Brooklyn’s The Art of Shooting’s full-length debut, Traveling Show, was released last April and it is a major leap forward from the band’s 2005 debut EP “Tyrant’s Black Eyes”. After repeated listens, I still find it hard to find a label or two to describe the evolution of the band’s sound. The band still seems to garner frequent comparisons to Siouxsie & the Banshees but, to my ears, this comparison didn’t last past the band’s initial EP. The current sound of The Art of Shooting is more “art-punk” so a better point of comparison might the raw emotion and tension of early Hole crossed with the jagged musical structures of PJ Harvey and Throwing Muses. In a recent interview, vocalist/songwriter Kelly Irene Corson wrestled with the same question of labeling her band’s music and ultimately described it as “melodic melodramatic indie rock”.
Traveling Show seems to be a means of exorcism for Corson, a self-described ‘over-sharer’, as she uses the disc’s eleven tracks to share deeply personal pain points and stories from her past. "Truth till it can be humiliating," attests Corson. "It's empowering to show your imperfections as a point of pride in who you really are." Lyrical themes include Corson’s experiences being kidnapped by a family member (“The Birdcage”), abusive relationships (“Traveling Show”) and running away from home as a teenager (“It Goes (Home)”). This is a somber disc that hides a large portion of this moodiness behind its swirling dark melodies and rich harmonies.
The Art of Shooting’s razor-tight combination of urgency, intensity and emotion make Traveling Show vital listening as this disc provides a means for the listener to exorcise his/her own personal demons.
Traveling Show was produced by both Paul Mahajan (Yeah Yeah Yeahs, TV On The Radio, Liars, The National) in Brooklyn and Keith Souza (Battles, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Lightning Bolt) in Pawtucket, RI. "This album has been a series of humbling miracles from beginning to end," sums Kelly Irene. "Though it's tested the ends of my patience, self-esteem, and faith not only in other people, but also in myself, at this moment, I'm as proud of it as I'll ever be."
The Art of Shooting