Shalini, We Want Jelly Donuts, Parasol Records | MUSIC: Homebrew | Indy Week
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Shalini, We Want Jelly Donuts, Parasol Records 

It may be moot as to whether Shalini craves jelly donuts. But We Want Jelly Donuts, her debut solo CD, sure sounds sweet. Mitch Easter (Let's Active) certainly has a hand in. The multitalented production maven plays the mixing board like an instrument, blending guitars here and keyboards there, on these 10 delicious tracks. Flash back to the glory days of '80s indie pop, when artists and producers like Easter and Don Dixon were all over the indie airwaves.

Easter's "Telepathic World" kicks off this goodie. "Get Free" is irresistible ("You are a reason to live," he exudes). "Creepy Emily" can't help but recall '60s psycho-dearies Pink Floyd ("See Emily Play"). But this Emily doesn't play as much as she wrestles with her conscience. Surging guitar hooks grip. Raga overtones flavor "This is Telluride." Fuzztone urgency drives "Desperate for Dawn." Tell-tale observations color "Around the Eyes." Easter's "Destination Anywhere Else" takes us out: "Be ready to roll, systems go!"

There is a lot to like here: ear candy for the new millennium. These tunes bubble and bounce, and at any moment retro psycho guitars will surge to the forefront of the mix (case in point: "Pandora at Sea"). Listen to the bass light the fuse of "Emotion Bomb." Easter lends his voice to this one, and it undulates through the give-and-take of a relationship ready to explode--or implode. You'll find nuggets like this one detonating days later in your brain.

Shalini's effortless vocals (think Juliana Hatfield-Liz Phair) are perfectly suited to Easter's pop foundations. Drummer Eric Marshall keeps the whole thing nailed down tight. Shalini (ex-Kissyfish and Vinyl Devotion) wrote six of the album's 10 songs, and while her writing might not be on the level of Easter's--yet, clearly she's gaining confidence.

Oh yeah, that donut thing of the title. For some, signs and bumper stickers touting "WWJD" mean "What Would Jesus Do?" For Shalini and company, it happily translates to "We Want Jelly Donuts." Yum.

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