The Shudders seem to have emerged from personal crisis and creative confusion as newly elected champions of the alt-rock movie soundtrack ...

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The New Spiritual Vacuum

Product:

The New Spiritual Vacuum

THE SHUDDERS SEEM TO HAVE EMERGED from personal crisis and creative confusion as newly elected champions of the alt-rock movie soundtrack. After a decade-long journey from indie jazz-punk awkwardness to supercharged major label powerpop the artcore veterans have seemingly snapped up every indie film score going, from the arch glam pastiches of [I]Velvet Goldmine[/I] to the chilly post-rock shimmers of [I]Clare Dolan[/I].

But these 15 tunes, written for the debut feature by former Lemonhead Jesse Peretz, add up to something special. Designed to suggest the male protagonist’s record collection, these heartfelt retro collages call on a superstar guest list to evoke pop fashion of every era from the ’30s to now. They call it a “fake oldies record”, but there’s nothing bogus about the raw emotion poured into soaring doo-wop gospel wailer ‘I Want Someone Badly’ by Jeff Buckley, or in Cardigans singer Nina Persson’s spine-tingling yodels on ‘Appalachian Lullaby’. Billy Corgan contributes a gnashing punkabilly bone-shaker too, while The The’s Matt Johnson howls through an authentically scratchy slice of ersatz swamp blues.

Although marred by one or two average tunes and doubtless shot through with postmodern cleverness, this is basically a heartfelt record built on a simple love of pop music. And when it’s good, it’s pretty damn irresistible.