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The Shivas | Dark Thoughts

The Portland psychedelic garage-rockers' fifth full-length lives up to its title.

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WHO ARE THEY? A veteran co-ed crew of psychedelic garage-rock surf-punks whose impressive blue-collar work ethic — they’ve supposedly played more than 1,000 shows in 25 countries over 13 years — seems at odds with their roots in hipster heartland Portland.

WHAT IS THIS? Their fifth full-length release. And a disc that they say took them more than 50 days in the studio to complete, proving that they’re just as diligent about recording as they are about touring.

WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? Well, it certainly lives up to its title — both in terms of its shadowy songwriting and its murky, cavernous production.

WHAT SHOULD IT BE TITLED? Staking the Fifth.

HOW SHOULD I LISTEN TO IT? While sitting on your couch, watching shlocky ’60s exploitation movies with the sound off during the weekly rent party that you and your nine housemates throw.

WHAT 10 WORDS SUM IT UP? Messy, noisy, druggy, thumpy, gloomy, eerie, sinister, ramshackle, retro, raucous.

WHAT ARE THE BEST SONGS? The opening fuzzbuster Gloria (not the Van Morrison song); the pounding riff-rocker Can’t Relax; the ’50s-style sock-hop waltz I Want You; the slashing Feels Surreal; the punchy It’s All In Your Head.

WHAT WILL MY FRIENDS SAY? ‘If they’ve played 1,000 shows, how come I’ve never heard of them before?’

HOW OFTEN WILL I LISTEN TO IT? It’ll take at least a few spins before you can pick out all the melodies and words swimming beneath the surface of their muddy sound. And by the time that happens, this will definitely have grown on you. Clever bastards.

IF THIS ALBUM WERE A HAIRCUT, WHAT WOULD IT BE? Something asymmetrical that you did yourself, and then dyed an unnatural colour with a kit you shoplifted.

SHOULD I BUY, STREAM OR STEAL IT? One album every 13 years isn’t going to break the bank. But feel free to dip your toe in the water below.