Full performer name: Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet.
Additional personnel: Charles Burns (vocals).
Producers: Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet, Coyote Shivers.
Engineers include: Bill Aldred, Todd Cuttler, Paul Edwards.
SAVVY SHOW STOPPERS compiles five 7-inch singles released between 1985 and 1988 on the band's own label, Jetpac.
Few bands of the '80s and '90s were as unique as as Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet, and they were that rare band that had their formula just about perfect right out of the box. While they were hardly the first band of the post-punk era to take their cues from vintage surf and instrumental music, Shadowy Men were one band who could embrace the twangy, reverb-drunk sound of the Ventures or Duane Eddy and make something fresh from it, avoiding kitsch in favor of a sound that was clever, playful, and commanding. Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet made records that were witty, powerful, evocative, and remarkably fun to listen (and dance) to, and most of the time they did it without a single word. Like most indie bands of their era, the Shadowy Men cut a fistful of singles before they made their first album, and with 1988's Savvy Show Stoppers, the trio managed to turn the former into the latter. The album compiled the tracks from six 7" releases the band had put out between 1985 and 1988, and despite the piecemeal construction of Savvy Show Stoppers, the tunes cohere surprisingly well. It helps that that the material was all produced by the group with help from Coyote Shivers, giving the tracks a certain sonic unity, and that the performances are tight and emphatic throughout. And while Brian Connelly's guitar understandably gets the most attention, the dynamics between him and bassist Reid Diamond and drummer Don Pyle are almost uncanny, the three fitting together with the precision of a jigsaw puzzle. Savvy Show Stoppers may have been more of a sampler than a proper album, but it was a near-perfect introduction to an endlessly enjoyable band. (The album also happens to include "Having an Average Weekend," the song that became Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet's calling card after it became the theme song for the sketch comedy series The Kids in the Hall.) ~ Mark Deming