The Shondes — Searchlights


The Shondes tom tom magazine review Exotic Fever Records Women Drummer

The Shondes
Exotic Fever Records
September 2011

Songs about heartache, exhaustion, loneliness, illness, “tarnished” reputations and ill-fated relationships are all represented on this Brooklyn Jewish-folk-punk quartet’s third full-length. But to call it a “break up record” would be reductive. Searchlights is better described as a survival record.

Survival usually requires compromise, or at least a change in behavior, and the Shondes do sound different on this record. Thematically the band shifts its focus from identity politics and interpersonal power relations to everyday crises, like long work days, supporting sick bandmates, drawn-out break ups, and feeling homesick on tour. Stylistically, the band experiments with less aggressive, less dissonant sounds, employing girl group-esque vocals and rhythms and standard pop song structures.

But the band keeps it modern and interesting with Louisa Solomon’s and Eli Oberman’s fearless voices, perfectly subtle distortion, impeccably unobtrusive percussion (by Tom Tom contributing writer, Temim Fruchter), and warm, clear production. Whatever catastrophes they’ve been through, the Shondes still know who they are, and in singing about it manage to make “survival” sound unexpectedly triumphant.

Listen to this while: proudly and happily engaging in your favorite self-care practices! (I personally like to listen to it while cooking or baking.)

Jamie Varriale Vélez is a graduate student and sometimes musician from New York.  She blogs about punk, gender, community, and other assorted stuff at


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