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Natural Mystery

Cincinnati’s SHADOWRAPTR defies easy classification on new release, 'Love a Good Mystery'

By Sean M. Peters · March 27th, 2013 · Music
music2_shadowraptr_photo_ lindsay nehlsSHADOWRAPTR (Photo: Lindsay Nehls)
The quartet known as SHADOWRAPTR has made a great name for itself. Granted, it’s an inexplicable-yet-wonderful kind of name. Heck, that could also be said about their music, too.

SHADOWRAPTR, as a whole, raises a lot of questions. How would the members describe their music? Is there any logical method to the group’s songwriting? From whence did the band’s name come? And why is it spelled incorrectly?
For fans of the Cincinnati band, these unanswered questions are of great importance as a growing audience tries to make sense of SHADOWRAPTR’s newest album, aptly titled Love a Good Mystery.

Winning “New Artist of the Year” at the 2011 Cincinnati Entertainment Awards, the group earned early acclaim for its musical efforts, which is not surprising to anyone that’s heard their previous albums or seen the group perform live.

“Part of writing a song for us is playing it live ... testing it,” Neal Humphrey, SHADOWRAPTR’s bassist, says. “How does it make people feel? We fine tune it to see how people react.”

The band has tried out much of their new material on live audiences, but don’t think for a second that if you’ve seen SHADOWRAPTR live before, you won’t be surprised by the sound of the new album. Jacob Tippey of Ramshackle Recordings (and Punk band The Frankl Project) produced the album, taking the group’s live sound and fortifying it with a healthy dose of audio-tech wizardry.

“Due to the myriad of styles, influences and tones present in their material, creating cohesion between (and even within) tracks [was] a challenge,” Tippey says. “Bass and drums were tracked together; we tuned the room to be very tight and dry, similar to Funk records from the ‘70s.”

SHADOWRAPTR is hard to sum up, musically.

The members exhibit a classical understanding of composition and technique, yet they perform music which could be simply short shrifted as “Experimental Rock” or painstakingly categorized by a long list of hybrid genre crossovers that would read like a cumbersome haiku.The band embraces all of the sounds it encounters, melding styles and disciplines into something altogether new that doesn’t quite fit into any of the predetermined musical bins.

“We’ll reach a point where there is no genre,” Kat Hensey, keyboardist and vocalist, says. “Most of what we do is on accident.”