The Shivas Feels So Good / Feels So Bad Vinyl LP
When Covid hit, The Shivas knew it was time for transformation. After a settling realization that live music would be grounded for the foreseeable future, The Shivas booked significant studio time with Cameron Spies, who also produced the 2019 Dark Thoughts LP.
They also transformed their lives: three of the band's four members found work with a local nonprofit serving unhoused Portland residents. They became engaged in protests and fundraisers for social justice. They spent a whole summer actually living in Portland, settling into the city they had always called home, but that sometimes felt like a temporary stop between tours.
The album that emerged from this new moment finds The Shivas reborn as a band that seems seasoned and perfectly at home with itself. There is a calm, even a hopefulness, to Feels So Good / Feels So Bad that sounds new.
The Shivas didn't write or record the album with a particular theme in mind, but one seems to have emerged: where Dark Thoughts was about confronting your demons with fearless self-examination, much of Feels So Good / Feels So Bad is about what happens once you find that peace: how being honest with yourself changes your relationships and your priorities. "I do think it's about acceptance," Leonard says.
"There's a weird relaxation that comes with being at peace with things you can't control or have regrets about."
Maybe that's why the squealing, riff-laden break-up song opener, "Feels So Bad," is such a shock to the system. But it's more of an exorcism than a melodrama: more a song about not being able to do the thing you love (in this case, playing live shows) than splitting with a partner. Whatever growth led the band to Feels So Good / Feels So Bad, plenty of their fascinations remain. They're still turning love songs into psychedelic, transcendent epics.
"Tell Me That You Love Me" subverts doo-wop extravegence and dabbles in Flamenco rhythms. "Rock Me Baby" is a bubblegum anthem soaked in so much reverb that we might just be hearing it from the stadium nosebleeds. "Sometimes" is almost impossibly huge, like a witchy outtake from the Brill Building era.
The Shivas Feels So Good / Feels So Bad Track Listing:
1. Feels So Bad
3. Tell Me That You Love Me
4. If I Could Choose
5. Don't Go
6. My Baby Don't
7. You Wanna Be My Man
8. A Gift
9. For The Kids
10. Rock Me Baby
11. So Cold
13. Please Don't Go