Hometown heroes’ third electronic-dance-punk-etc record. Goes lighter on the punk and amps up the intricacy – sure they’ve changed, but how do they look?
This record tends to float where Shout Out of yore stomped. The arrangement is less sharp or else just intentionally smokey; pacing has lost drive or gained nuance, depending on how you look at it. Batting towards Sweden rather than just Germany, or maybe batting to Sweden from Germany, or something. I am somewhat surprised but shouldn’t be at the traces of black music flavouring the background, probably coming to us via Chicago house and 80s R&B.
The house piano that comes out in “How Do I Maintain” is both hilarious and sublime, brilliant in part because it’s a sound so foreign to the traditional Shout aesthetic while simultaneously being a sound ubiquitous in electronic music. If you felt like it you could say that the orchestration is, at times, poetic. Hell, there’s even a sort of cosmic dub song that morphs into Angelo Badalamenti’s scoring for Twin Peaks, which is more or less exactly what I want to hear all the time. Plus there’s that fucking majestic saxophone.
There is a far greater level of depth on this record than on any other Shout Out work. The new sounds (and most of them are new) would have basically been out-of-canon for the old band, but if you think about it that’s also true of the move from NSJS to Reintegration Time. The band’s whole history has been marked by the phasing out of raucous punk in favour of a more considered and a decidedly more electronic approach. This means they’ve done experiments and made new discoveries and developed artistically.
It’s not all chestnuts and togapi. The group has evolved into being fundamentally different than they were before, and this means that they actually are not the same anymore. This is something we tend to say we want out of both people and bands, but it’s also something we tend to be unsure of when confronted with. The record is less bangin’, and whether that’s a priority or not is up to you. I think that they could have pulled it off keeping more of the punk in but they chose not to. One doesn’t have to trade attitude for sophistication, but I think the attitude is what’s evolving anyway. There is a desire to be more than just a good band to get drunk to.
Choice: Never the Same Way Twice; Total Loss; How Do I Maintain Part 3; Spanish Moss; Lessons in Disappearing
Cut: Knowing; This Isn’t Helping
Go to Blackbyrd and buy the thing on beautiful multi-coloured vinyl straight from the source. Don’t forget to grab a ticket to SHOUT OUT OUT OUT OUT’s ALBUM RELEASE SHOW, happening THIS SATURDAY AT ED’S.