Just Like The Movies - "Shake It"

From Aural Innovations #21 (October 2002)

Just Like The Movies is the nom de plume of Toronto-based Casio and Rapmaster 2000-wielding Chris Mills, former lead vocalist of rock band Mudfish and erstwhile member of Loogie, a sketch comedy group that performed in a grab bag of comedy festivals and clubs around Toronto and New York.

Chris brings an infectious energy to much of his music (a stage costume consisting of Green Hornet-style mask, bandana, shorts and dog collar, sometimes a plastic sheep’s head - the sketch comedy and lead vocalist background certainly helped!): ‘Heavy Metal’, and ‘I Like Sex’, are two-chord freakouts layered over Casio or Rapmaster 2000 — picture Chris as a bandana-sporting bandit of love; ‘Lover Share The Covers’ is a ballad with a punk chorus; ‘I Am A Robot’ is the machine-gun ode to machine-age conformity, while ‘The Normals’ is a distorted guitar finger-in-the-face to conformists everywhere.

But sophomoric in-your-face metal workouts do not in any way suggest what is to follow; ‘Shake It’ has ample evidence that unselfconscious goofiness is merely one aspect of an artistic persona struggling to express a stridently ambiguous, and ultimately far more interesting emotional landscape: ‘Hit It’ and ‘Mooganized’ are dreamy, funky Tangerine Dream-inspired pieces; ‘Super 8 Date’ is music box and ocean-shore wave nostalgia, perhaps the most enigmatic piece; ‘Incredible Sound’ is slow Casio poetry; and ‘The Wind’ is an unexpected acoustic dirge about the transience of love while ‘Sugar Gum Shoe Goddess’ pays tribute to a drugged-up rollerskating punk princess and our hero’s efforts to bed her.

What is ultimately frustrating is that some of the more adventurous sonic experiments (‘Super 8 Date’, ‘Hit It’) are unfortunately divorced from superior songwriting (‘Incredible Sound’, ‘The Wind’, ‘Sugar Shoe Gum Goddess’). As a novelty live act, Chris is amusing, but he’s got the potential to take this much further (and into more interesting territory). Let’s hope he does.

For more information about Just Like The Movies you can visit Chris’s web site at: http://www.justlikethemovies.com.
Email Chris at: chris@justlikethemovies.com.

Reviewed by Ian Compton

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