Detroit band Shortly balance vulnerability, propulsive rock, and Americana on their debut EP | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Detroit band Shortly balance vulnerability, propulsive rock, and Americana on their debut EP 

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Shortly

Emily Nagle

Built around the demos of Detroit-based singer, guitarist, and pianist Alexandria Maniak, Shortly has evolved from an emo-tinged indie-rock solo project into a full-fledged band. The four-piece group show their promise on their debut EP, Richmond, released on Triple Crown last September. On standouts “Finders Keepers” and “Spare Time,” Shortly strike a balance between fragility and propulsive momentum, accenting Maniak’s quivering, beautifully vulnerable voice with reverbed-out rock. On “Finders Keepers,” a tune that wouldn’t sound out of place on an American Football album, Maniak sings of friendship lost and garments left behind: “All I have is a flannel shirt you gave to me / All you have of mine you can keep / I don't want it back now,” she sings. “Spare Time” begins delicately, with Maniak looking back on a broken relationship over acoustic guitar, piano, and lap-steel guitar. More than halfway through, the song becomes a full-band rock number, with Maniak turning her eye on herself: “Maybe I should grow up / Maybe I should be fine / Or maybe I am make believe / Maybe I am the puppet strings.” Richmond also includes touches of Americana and folk, and in recent interviews Maniak has spoken about pushing the band's limits, so expect a broader sound moving forward. Shortly will be releasing new material this summer, and you’re likely to hear some during tonight’s show—which I highly recommended for fans of sensitive music in intimate venues.   v

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