In keeping with the title of their debut album, Accidents That Made Us, The Shouldas represent a pileup of styles: singer-songwriter-meets-indie-rock, alternative, and power pop.
Part jangle and part crunch, part mood and part melody, The Shouldas hint at the off-kilter catchiness of the Lemonheads, the dense lyrics of early R.E.M., the earnest American guitar rock of the Gin Blossoms, and an occasional touch of indulgent alternative-tinged distortion.
Held together by the catchy melodies and clever rhythmic lyrics, songs range from poetic to philosophical to playful: A tune about a failed relationship followed by a rumination on the fleeting nature of life followed by something about Abraham Lincoln trapped inside a snow globe.
The Shouldas (as in should have) probably shouldn’t have existed, except that an old reddish-brown briefcase simply became too overstuffed with bits and pieces of songs chicken-scratched on yellow notebook paper, the backs of envelopes, rolls of birch bark, and greasy pizza box lids to hide under songwriter Evan Dresser’s bed.
So he enlisted the help of two musicians he had toured with in (of all things) a “kindie rock” band. With Dresser on lead vocals and guitar, bassist Bob Albin (The Original Sinners) and drummer Jake Kline (The Sweetbriars, Earl Pickens & The Band Named Thunder) formed an instant rhythm section. But it was hard finding a fitting fourth member in small-town Central PA.
Circumstance tends to oddly smash people together and sometimes the best policy is to make the most of it. As one particular Shouldas lyric goes: “My car wears the scars that should be on my skin, but I’m not too concerned about the way things should have been.”
Just when he had almost given up, Dresser got a message from a dapper-looking Finn named Thomas Lilley. Lilley’s own band, Daisy, was signed to Sony Records in Finland but taking a break from performing so he could come crawl through dank American caves and do bat research at Bucknell University.
The group quickly electrified, playing its first show within a couple months, and recording their EP, Tied Up Like A Spy. The track “You to the Rescue” was included on Blind Pigeon Records Compilation 13.
Recording at a combination of Kimbo’s Studio in Lewisburg and Lilley’s own studio, The Shouldas released Accidents That Made Us in the summer of 2016 and continue to play live, write new material, and drive defensively.