Brian Shapiro Band Drop New Single

The Brian Shapiro Band’s continued ascent proves the old adage “the cream always rises to the top”. The four piece of Shapiro (vocals/guitar), Ed Momn (bass), Rory Flynn (guitar), and Ben Kutner-Duff (drums) are three albums in with their new collection You Me Future Now, and its first single “Better in TX” serves notice they are still peaking. The delicious ebullience of a debuting act hasn’t faded while they’ve moved on to further develop their performance aesthetic and songwriting prowess. “Better in TX”, as well, isn’t bashful about its social consciousness while dramatizing its concerns with incisive writing. There’s no hectoring or sermonizing here though listeners can tell exactly where Shapiro’s coming from.

The major musical component of the performance is the presence of the piano. Shapiro’s music isn’t shy about incorporating guest musicians and the presence of keys sweetens the arrangement. It has a slight boogie woogie vibe, never riffing too hard in that direction, and at least gives the song a jaunty bounce. Shapiro sinks his teeth deep into the lyrics without ever embracing outright histrionics. There’s a slightly theatrical quality to his singing that we hear even here and it gives his opinions a performative spin many listeners will welcome.

The production helps the track practically leap out at you. No one musical element takes precedence over another, and the full-bodied balance achieved during the recording helps it stick deeper in listeners’ minds. This is a far from disposable song. “Better in TX” may address a specific time in American history for some, but it’s reach extends further than that and Shapiro writes with necessary timelessness.  It is perhaps sad to say, but “Better in TX” will have just as much relevance ten years from now.

He’s chosen well with this song as a single. It presents an appealing face for a larger audience than the Brian Shapiro Band has yet to enjoy and there’s an excellent chance he’ll claim new fans on the backs of this track. It breaks with his customary edgy musical approach without forsaking it entirely. It doesn’t compromise any of his underlying aesthetics while providing the casual listeners with possible avenues deeper into his work.

It’s never strident. Even the instructive quality of its lyrics sounds tempered by the recognition of our common humanity, taking a stand but never declaring anyone irredeemable. Brian Shapiro brings immense intelligence to bear on every project thus far and “Better in TX” bears all of the same hallmarks. It demonstrates if anyone doubted it, that Shapiro has capable of sustaining and growing his distinctive musical ambitions over multiple albums without slacking. “Better in TX” finds him and his bandmates as engaged as ever.

It has something to offer to different audiences. Appreciators of art rock will adore the song and even fans of top shelf pop songwriting will admire its skillful accessibility. The Brian Shapiro Band pulls off an impressive balancing act that captures your attention with a single listen. Listening to it, even more, will help the band sink their hooks deeper into you and pull you back into its orbit for more. 

Nicole Killian

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Nicole loves to go cross country skiing, swimming, reading and critiquing books, listening and critiquing music, some culinary arts, pottery, spending time with my daughter, cheesy horror films.

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