The Shady project centers around former Mercury Rev member Dave Baker, who pairs with an impressive variety of similarly inclined musicians to write and record World: Martin Carr of the Boo Radleys turns tracks like "Hey Yeah" into sunny, tripped-out psychedelia that's reminiscent of his own Giant Steps, Jimi Shields and Ken Griffin of Rollerskate Skinny turn up (with Shields collaborating quite often), Sooyoung Park of Seam adds more conventional rock textures to a few tracks, and Roxanne Stephen (Th' Faith Healers) and Avy (Sharkboy) chime in as well. Given the recording history of Mercury Rev, it's always been tempting to point to Baker as the darker, more aggressive influence in the band's early songwriting, but World, for the most part, stays away from this; the album has a loose and frequently inventive feel that takes on the pop side of the sounds shared by Mercury Rev, Rollerskate Skinny and Jimi Shields' Lotus Crown project, and the record is, arguably, at its best when Martin Carr's contributions lighten the mix with brighter influences. Probably due to its collaborative approach, World lacks the focus of any of its creators' independent work, and doesn't really compare to the work of any of the aforementioned bands, but it's a fun and generally appealing record that should find a home with fans of Lotus Crown, Rollerskate Skinny or early Mercury Rev.
Nitsuh Abebe, www.allmusic.com
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