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Rhythm & Views

Shipwreck

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I detest the acronym RIFYL. RIFYL stands for "recommended if you like," and is usually followed in a record review by a list of bands. These lists are often composed of bands-of-the-moment who have little or nothing to do with the actual band in question, save common hairstyles or geographic locations. Instead of providing a useful context, all an RIFYL list does is undermine the artistic innovations the band in question is actually engaging in, and puts you in an awkward position if you've never heard of the bands on the list.

If someone were to create a RIFYL list for Shipwreck's Rabbit in the Kitchen With a New Dress On, it would most definitely contain Franz Ferdinand, Spoon and Interpol. And, yes, Shipwreck has that New Wave-disco-punk thing in common with each of those bands, and yes, that list does provide some amount of context for Shipwreck's sound. But what this RIFYL list fails to account for is Shipwreck's clean minimalism, and their brilliant incorporation of pop vocal melodies that make songs like "Kiss in the Dark" and "Devils" instantly memorable on the first listen.

Since Shipwreck is from territory familiar to most of America--the Midwest, specifically Champaign, Ill.--the images and lyrical sentiments are recognizable and relatable, i.e., "working drive-thru liquor for the minimum wage, selling Pabst Blue Ribbon to the underage" from "Hi Fi."

RIFYL lists would be much more useful if they included more accurate touchstones. Shipwreck RIFYL: reverb, sex, country, synth rock and beer.

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