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Shiny and the Spoon

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Customer Reviews

A strong debut. Humble, simple, and intimate.

I first heard Shiny and the Spoon about a year ago, when they were gigging around the Cincinnati area. I've had the fortune of seeing them hone their craft, in small, intimate venues.

The key word here is "intimate." The band consists of Amber Nash and Jordan Neff, two Cincinnati-imports who play and sing in tight, close harmonies. At first I was wary of the ukulele element. I'm prejudiced against them, since they're usually funny little devil-guitars that act as fonts for kitsch.

That's not the case here, though, since Nash's ukulele lilts over the compositions, lending them an understated, naive sound. This is not ukulele for ukulele's sake. It's complemented by Neff's acoustic strains, which are solid, light on noodling, and provide an ample foundation for the EP's melodies.

If it's possible for dynamic range to be understated, then Shiny and the Spoon pulls it off masterfully. Nash's voice, in particular, goes from cafe croon to bombastic diva, sometimes in the course of a single song (as is the case with "Canary in a Coal Mine.") Neff, in contrast, can either sizzle with a low, Waitsian growl (Two Pennies) or sweetly simmer (Good On You). I apologize for my propensity toward alliteration.

Now we move on to the lyrics, which dabble in themes of alienation, companionship, inadequacy and sufficiency. I enjoy their aversion to narrative songs. Instead, they synthesize feelings in an implicit way, sketching us a little window into their relationship (to each other, and the world around them). If traditional folk is what's jotted down on a notepad, Shiny and the Spoon's domain is the doodles in the margin.

This review has been fairly glowing throughout, but I have some quibbles. The album has a very DIY sound, and shows the limitations of an at-home recording. They make the most of their limited production means, but blemishes are apparent on good headphones. The EP succeeds despite this, but I'd be eager to hear their studio output.

If you're going to buy this a-la-carte, I'd suggest "Buried," as it's most indicative of the whole album. Shiny and the Spoon evokes that feeling of being happily trapped on a snow day, the wistfulness that comes with choosing elation over claustrophobia, and being comfortable enough to harmonize.


This is the first review I've felt worth writing. I randomly came across Amber Nash and her album Ukebucket recently. She has a soul touching voice that has not been heard in a long time. Jordan softly compliments her vocals, and ukulele perfectly. Creative cover songs, and well written originals, when you put this album on everyone will want to know who it is! A must have for anyone that enjoys a great up and coming artist, and the harmonies of the ukulele. Good job you two!

Haunting, Beautiful, Unique

I'm another listener that runs away screaming when I hear the ukulele, but I am truly moved by the sounds of this duet. I was drawn in by the harmonies and quality of the vocals and the music and lyrics sealed the deal. Great band and I highly recommend the EP!

Shiny and the Spoon, Shiny and the Spoon
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Customer Ratings