The Shuvs are all about the soft touch. On their self-titled debut, this mellow and soulful Toronto crew finds a mellow spot and stays there.
These songs lilt and coo. They pulse and they glide, never in a rush. Opener "Hustle and the Tussle" sets the the tone - gorgeous guy/girl vocal melodies drip like honey over a snappy guitar and gentle, jazzy drums.
It's not so much about where these songs go, as it is about setting a vibe and exploring the ways to stay there. Without a doubt there's a soulful R&B flavour across the whole record, particularly in the smooth-out vocal inflections, but there's also touches of spacey folk guitar and outsider country.
I guess the Shuvs are a kind of stoner-soul band, like J. J. Cale and Curtis Mayfield jamming after the room's cleared out. The danger of a record like this would be the risk of sending the listener off into a narcotized haze, but that's not the case.
"Slow Learner" is a moody midnight burner. "Loner" picks up the pace to a trot, and "Rich Cousins" gets me lost in the circular riff and riches-to-rags story of winning the lottery but losing it all.
Breezy and mellow but with real intent, this record creeps up on you. Hear more at theshuvs.bandcamp.com/releases.
Published in Volume 71, Number 20 of The Uniter (February 16, 2017)