Run Chico Run may be one of Canada’s more elusive acts but they’re also one of its most adept. On Shashbo, their fourth full-length album and Boompa Records debut, Run Chico Run offer up deliriously vibrant instrumentation through saturated, noirish keyboards and melodic eccentricity.
Recorded at their home studio in Victoria, BC Shashbo is a swirling art-pop, space-rock spectacle with enough awkward punk style breaks in the beats and minor explosions to keep you on your toes. A sonic assault that the Chico’s – Matt Skillings and Thomas Shields – have been perfecting since they first came together in 1997 when Skillings moved back to Victoria.
“Thomas was putting together the whole Run Chico Run thing,” said Skillings as he traced the history of the band. “It was his brainchild – he had a demo of about six tunes that he’d done on his four-track all on his lonesome. I had a couple ditties myself that we added to it and that was LoFi MoFo, our first album.”
Originally consisting of four members, Run Chico Run’s follow up release – the Asecretaryspeaks EP – saw them dwindled down to three. By the time their sophomore album Melee came out in 1998, it was added to playlists across the country and reached #17 on the !Earshot National College Charts. Three days before a six-week nationwide tour in support of their third album, A New Peak In Lowdowness, the bass player bowed out, leaving Skillings and Shields.
“We just left town as a two-piece and learned along the way,” said an indifferent Shields. “So I learned to play drums and a (bass synth) keyboard with one hand.”
And now the guys are interchangeable on stage, spending half the set on drums and bass synth and the other half singing, playing guitar and tickling a stack of keyboards simultaneously.
Compounded with deliberately jarring high harmonies, Shashbo creates a feeling that transcends description. The 12 tracks mix sounds and energies unlike anything you’ve heard before. Drum and bass rhythms, melancholic harmonies, and joyously catchy off-tempo riffs produce an acid-trip adventure. It’s not until you put on your headphones that you at once fully understand that Run Chico Run make beautiful music and that’s pretty much all that matters.
Shashbo drops in stores September 21st, 2004 and watch for Run Chico Run on tour throughout September and October.