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Shining Through - Man Vs. Wild Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 8
Musicianship 7.75
Lyrics 9.75
Production 7.75
Creativity 8
Lasting Value 8
Reviewer Tilt 7
Final Verdict: 80%
Member Ratings
Vocals 7
Musicianship 6.5
Lyrics 7.38
Production 6.5
Creativity 6.75
Lasting Value 6.75
Reviewer Tilt 6
Average: 67%
Inside AP.net

Shining Through - Man Vs. Wild

Reviewed by: Julia Conny (11/14/07)
Shining ThroughMan Vs. Wild
Record Label: Unsigned
Release Date: November 14, 2007

ABSOLUTExclusive: Download Man Vs. Wild exclusively on Shining Through's AP.net Profile.


As San Diego’s Shining Through plays through their newest EP, Man Vs. Wild, singer James Clelland works at first-person accounts of self-doubt and discovery. In one of the best lines of the release, Clelland cries “I'm running forward with an awkward sense of direction / About forty digits separate me from connection” (“The Smoke and the Sounds”). The seven tracks on the EP are loaded with great one-liners, and that’s barely even a scratch on this fiery weed-rock mini-opus.

The rest of the band is squeezing pulp from bold guitars, bulky layers and stocked arrangements. The first four tracks of Man Vs. Wild power through like a wicked strong beast, making the album’s title too fitting. There are stretches when Clelland matches up with the beat so precisely that each line punches up its own poetic justice. This is where Man Vs. Wild is the most excellent, and every song on the EP has passes like this. However, new listeners may find themselves underimpressed with the melody alongside Clelland’s delivery and inflection, even when it grooves into awesome moments like these. His technique takes a bit of juggling to get a steady feel for, and his vibrato goes best with a grain of salt. The production works in the same department; Shining Through is made up of real, organic musicians, and Man Vs. Wild isn't meant to sound over-polished. Part of it's charm is plighted to be rustic and amateur. I have faith that those who are willing to take the time with Shining Through will become entranced. Those that aren't wouldn't have been a good band-fan match anyway.

The last three tracks are slower soul-searchers, and the guitars swell and drone majestically. The beginning of “I’m Okay” - easily my favorite on the EP - is a slow, highly-resonating electric dreamland. Folky acoustic guitar headlines on “So We Say,” and brass instruments liven up the end of the song for a peppy, hopeful conclusion. “Hanging On A” plays a lot like a hidden track, and guitars saunter around background noises like crickets chirping or children playing. The song gets lost in its own galaxy at points, but lines like “It’s not a hawk on a fence that makes you a man, it’s the things you just won’t do but completely understand,” and the group vocals towards the end give the song worth in depth.

If it is a comparison you’re looking for, you won’t have to search far. Shining Through will immediately feel familiar to those that have listened to neighborhood buds Weatherbox, a San Diego Doghouse band that’s been gaining radar space this year. Both Weatherbox singer Brian Warren and Clelland handle self-reflection like a romantic drug, and both bands play raucous indie rock in the line of Criteria, Piebald, and Manchester Orchestra. But this much brain-thinkin’ can’t be too good for the soul (or attention span), which is why Man Vs. Wild’s muscular guitars and arrangements exist to keep the trek exciting.

I tend to relate listening to indie rock with getting stoned too often. I'm sorry for that, but in Man Vs. Wild it's undeniable. Also undeniable is Clelland's way with words, Shining Through's crunchy guitars, and the bigger ideas that exist on Man Vs. Wild. Overall, it's an undeniably honest and bare EP with - and I can't stop emphasizing this - lyrics that win in both symbolism and vocal punch. Beat that Jesse Lacey.

Tracklisting1. Man Vs. Wild
2. Axed
3. The Smoke and The Sounds
4. When it Wasn't Fun
5. So We Say
6. I'm Okay
7. Hanging On A
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 23
09:15 AM on 11/14/07
#2
saving jonathan
everything in transit
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like weatherbox you say?

i'll check it out.
09:20 AM on 11/14/07
#3
Steve Henderson
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On a related note, I love Bear Grylls.
09:46 AM on 11/14/07
#4
patpratt
test
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i shall check out this ep and get back to you!
10:26 AM on 11/14/07
#5
jrtbighurt
[SOMEONEcallANambulance]
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ABSOLUTExclusive: Download Man Vs. Wild exclusively on Shining Through's AP.net Profile.


Link doesn't seem to be working...at least for me.
10:27 AM on 11/14/07
#6
sensesfail18782
Jukebox Romeo
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I adore this band. The EP is really solid. I'm thrilled that a couple songs I'd heard before and absolutely loved were on the EP.

I agree about "I'm Okay" as well. Just a damn good song.

The biggest part I loved in the past about Shining Through is how they sounded like a crazy mix of Say Anything, Bright Eyes, Recover, etc. They seem to be heading towards a straight up driving rock sound but I love it. James' voice is definitely unique and that's what I think sets this band apart from a lot of others.

Good review, very good band.
10:28 AM on 11/14/07
#7
sensesfail18782
Jukebox Romeo
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10:40 AM on 11/14/07
#8
Julia Conny
"Julia HurriConny"
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ABSOLUTExclusive: Download Man Vs. Wild exclusively on Shining Through's AP.net Profile.


Link doesn't seem to be working...at least for me.

Fixed. Sorry 'bout that. DL to your heart's end.
10:42 AM on 11/14/07
#9
Julia Conny
"Julia HurriConny"
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I adore this band. The EP is really solid. I'm thrilled that a couple songs I'd heard before and absolutely loved were on the EP.

I agree about "I'm Okay" as well. Just a damn good song.

The biggest part I loved in the past about Shining Through is how they sounded like a crazy mix of Say Anything, Bright Eyes, Recover, etc. They seem to be heading towards a straight up driving rock sound but I love it. James' voice is definitely unique and that's what I think sets this band apart from a lot of others.

Good review, very good band.

Thank you. Their crazy mix is so addicting. I found myself more and more into the music the longer I had the EP. I'm really impressed with what these guys did on here. I could see them doing really well with a concept album and good, but down-to-earth producer.
10:43 AM on 11/14/07
Julia Conny
"Julia HurriConny"
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On a related note, I love Bear Grylls.

On a related note, I love you.
10:44 AM on 11/14/07
Julia Conny
"Julia HurriConny"
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like weatherbox you say?

i'll check it out.

Yeah, I think that's the easiest band to compare them to. But I'm sure you can listen to Shining Through and find a bunch of different influences and bands tucked away, you know?
10:46 AM on 11/14/07
sensesfail18782
Jukebox Romeo
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Thank you. Their crazy mix is so addicting. I found myself more and more into the music the longer I had the EP. I'm really impressed with what these guys did on here. I could see them doing really well with a concept album and good, but down-to-earth producer.

I agree definitely. Hopefully they will get to a point where they can pretty much do whatever they want in the studio and not have to worry about costs...because I'm sure it'd be golden.
10:47 AM on 11/14/07
tacosforcharles
it all ends
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On a related note, I love Bear Grylls.
Indeed.

And nice review Julia. Really made me wanna check them out. Downloading now.
11:02 AM on 11/14/07
GoWaitInTheCar
The World Won't Listen.
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Not into it at all.
11:07 AM on 11/14/07
jeremypeele
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i have had this EP for about 2 months now
James sent me a direct link cause i kept asking
but it is a great EP, download it
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