Music » CD Reviews

Kamijo/Shuttah

Martha/The Image Maker (Shadoks)

by

comment
Shadoks specializes in obscure relics from the hippie era -- bands with names like Mystery Meat and Love Depression. Two of the label's latest reissues spotlight Kamijo, a group out of Japan, and an English act calling itself Shuttah.

Released in 1971, Kamijo's Martha consists of humble tunes built from acoustic guitar, piano, and intimate harmonies. Also featuring the occasional harmonica and fuzz tone, the band channeled the Beatles, some Dylan, Village Green-era Kinks, and VU's softer touch. This doesn't mean Kamijo combined the best elements of these bands, although its sideways take is interesting in a strange-yet-familiar way.

On the other hand, there is nothing humble about Shuttah. The band's reach far exceeded its grasp. The Image Maker, its rambling double LP, also from '71, fancies itself a treatise on war and humanity. But it's a mess, representing Shuttah's misguided stab at making a grand artistic statement. Sure, that's something plenty of prog bands did in the '70s, but never like this. We get everything from field recordings and jazzy trombone interludes to sober ballads sung in one of those stern British voices -- think John Wetton (King Crimson, Asia). Shuttah's strangest quality, however, is its love for white-boy funk rock, which appears throughout the album. This was early '70s Britain, after all.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected].

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club


Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.


Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.


Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.