In the vast wasteland of the music biz, artists of truly original vision are rarer than hen's teeth. Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet
-- Canadian punk rockers hailing from Toronto, Ontario -- have nonetheless managed to create a style uniquely their own. Quirkily eccentric it is, drawing inspiration from old sci-fi and drive-in horror film scores, but their confident approach makes the music instantly accessible. Almost without exception, they play in minor keys, adding spice and intrigue with unexpected melodic twists. The galloping guitars, loping bass, and crashing drums each speak with voices so powerful that the lack of a human one goes unnoticed. Their enthusiasm is infectious; their naive sincerity charming, and their self-deprecating humor a refreshing change from the industry norm. Savvy Show Stoppers
, the band's first CD release, collects tunes from five previous 7" vinyl records released from 1985-1988 on the group's own Jetpac label. In fact, the first three songs Shadowy Men
ever waxed -- "Our Weapons Are Useless," "Bennett Cerf," and "Having an Average Weekend" -- still remain among the group's finest recordings. "Weapons" is a high-voltage march of the aliens, "Bennett Cerf" is a killer tune with just the right amount of string-bending and wah wah bar, and "Weekend" (the quintessential Shadowy Men
track) gained fame as the theme song for the television comedy series The Kids in the Hall. Most of the CD's other tracks are of similarly high caliber. Still primarily an underground phenomenon, Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet
are one of the finest bands ever spawned north of the 49th parallel. Their music is unique and tongue-in-cheek. Not only good listening, but great fun.