“Not Your Trial”
March 15, 2011 - Beverly Martel
There’s nothing inherently wrong with simple music. AC/DC have made a mega-career out of playing the most mind-numbing (and amazing) hard rock imaginable for the past 40 years. Without their sublime simplicity, they’d just be another bar band. Singer/songwriter Ari Shine likes to keep things simple, too, except the one-dimensional tunes on his latest album, Ghost Town Directory, suffer because of it.
This ain’t the kind of one-dimensional where every song is a 4/4 rock anthem about sexually promiscuous women. Unfortunately, this is the kind of single vision where Shine’s voice rarely gets past a semi-interested register—which sometimes approachs the screech of Chris Cornell before reverting back to the same, bored-sounding tone—worse, the tunes approach a near-Black Crowes jam, before slipping back into the kind of dull singer/songwriter zone in which chumps such as Jack Johnson reside.
When Shine is on his rock trip, some of these songs might please the jam-heads, but when he’s on his feel-good, soundtrack-to-a-kids’-monkey-movie trip, he flatlines. In fact, it’s almost impossible to find the highlights on Ghost Town Directory. As soon as a song starts to groove and swing, Shine pulls back. He needs to take a few lessons from AC/DC: Don’t be afraid to rock.