Biography All Music Guide
All Music Guide:
Though often associated with the New York City hardcore scene of the mid-'90s, Shift never quite fit in with their contemporaries, and were more apt to play a ballad than to kick over a mic stand. Their sound fuses complex time changes and manic break-outs with blatant pop sensibilities; a combination which won them a loyal underground audience, culminating in a jump to a major label in 1997. Originally formed in their native New York by singer/guitarist Joshua Loucka, bassist Brandon Simpson, and drummer Samantha Maloney, Shift went the DIY route, playing shows whenever possible and recording an EP, Pathos (1994), and a full-length album, Spacesuit (1995), on indie label Equal Vision Records. While Loucka's monotone voice could grow tiresome at times, both releases showed a firm grasp on the heavier and lighter elements of rock, a combination best realized on Spacesuit's "Dress Up," which veers from ballad to rocker with astonishing ease. Even in such a competitive scene, Shift stood out, and in 1997 were signed to Columbia Records. With the addition of guitarist Mark Holcomb, the band evened out their sound (the multi-layer guitar work on their first albums was never quite realized in concert), they released Get In in the fall of that year, and continued to tour aggressively.