Avant-Garde noise makers return with new album
Shit and Shine don’t make pop music. On their latest album 54 Synth-Brass, 38 Metal Guitar, 65 Cathedral they’ve have crafted 50 minutes of droney repetitive beats with wonky vocals that not only pushes the listeners boundaries but questions what is music? While this is quite a grandiose statement, and like all grandiose statements, there is an element of truth to it.
Since their inception in the mid-2000’s Shit and Shine ($&$) founder Craig Clouse has been able to mix garage rock with elements of drone, Krautrock and the Avant-Garde. At their heart they are a psychedelic band though. Their music shares more in common with Loud Reed’s much maligned Metal Machine Music, than Kaleidoscope’s Tangerine Dream. It is heavy, unrelenting but with surprisingly catchy moments.
What Shit and Shine do well is take the blueprint that Add N to (X) laid down, but push in a harder more abstract direction. This is evident on their latest album. Opening track Electric Pony 2 starts with a Surf\Burundi beat, but it is subverted by distorted vocals, fuzzed out guitars and glitch samples, for ten minutes. Second track C2-6 does the same thing, but it’s a far cleaner sound, and in places as close to pop as $&$ get. The rest of the album follows this pattern. The beats are constant for the duration of each track, everything else is added and removed for its greater good. On paper this album shouldn’t work. It’s collective influences and elements don’t mix Jazz, Space Rock, Aphex Twin electronica, Glam and Krautrock, but combined they create a captivating yet disarming maelstrom.
At times it’s the musical version of a rorshach test. Some people will hear noise and cacophony while others will hear catchy hooks. While this isn’t for everyone it is one of the most beguiling and strangely honest albums that has been released in a long time.