Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Shalini “Magnetic North”

Shalini Chatterjee had been a bass player in San Francisco band Vinyl Devotion before moving from the West Coast to North Carolina. There she attracted the attention of Mitch Easter and Don Dixon, who suggested her last name be used as the band’s moniker.

Recorded in Chapel Hill, Shalini’s fourth album, “Magnetic North,” has her distinct Rickenbacker guitar chords and vocals that come across strongly on the opener “One of One,” similar to Belinda Carlyle if she played with Dream Syndicate. This formula continues on “Mine As You Ever Were,” but under the forceful riffs is a sadness with the lyrical aside, “You don’t want me around.”

Next, we get a bit of crunchy pop energy on “Echo.” I consider it the most memorable track here and it’s almost musical therapy when she wails, “I’m outta control, I’m outta my mind.” The sci-fi percussive rhythms in “Sky of Diana” keep things from getting pedestrian and too relentless, and then it’s back to those great power pop riffs.

The tracks expose an underlying anger. Especially on “Walking Ghost of Death” where she says, “I would not deceive you, I would never leave you…Sunshine doesn’t touch me…Can’t find a path with days so empty.” Such is the scorn of a woman betrayed, but it’s never sounded better here.

Very consistent and worthy of attention – I can’t wait to see what’s next.

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One reply on “CD Review: Shalini “Magnetic North””

Hullo Aaron.
Thank you for your review. I am glad you liked my little EP. There are a couple wee errors though: Dixon and Mitch thought I should use my FIRST name which I did – you said last name. Also I didn’t play bass in Vinyl Devotion, only guitar ever. I played bass on some recordings but always guitar at shows. I did play bass in a band called Kissyfish from 1987-1990, which was my college band when I went to UW-Madison. I played bass briefly in Shalini when we were a 3 piece in the early 2000’s but went back to guitar, and I played bass in Mitch’s band from 2002-2008, switching to permanently to guitar in 2008 (until he kicked me out via text message in Jan. 2010) due to an injured right index finger. For some reason the instrumentation history is important to me for the sake of accuracy. Thanks and Happy New Year! – Shalini

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