The tunes appear, on the surface, unaffectedly simple and unrestrained. But, if you...
Kate Lawrence 2003-08-08
It's been an agonising wait for the return of Liverpudlian heroes, Shack.When Mick & John Head's deal with Laurel records collapsed in 1999, it was uncertain as to whether we would even get a follow up to the critically acclaimed HMS Fable.Fortunately local concert promoter, Simon Moran from SJM, put up the cash for them to release a new album on his label, North Country.
Shack have always been the masters of understatement in terms of their musical offerings which is somewhat surprising given the stories of drugs and despair that surround them.This album is even more subtle than previous releases, but in all the right ways.
Here's Tom With The Weather was recorded in just seven weeks and as a result, we get the opportunity to experience Shack's song writing at its most spontaneous and uncontrived.
This album is not as anthemic or catchy as HMS Fable; there isn't a "Natalie's Party" or "Comedy" to raucously sing along to.Instead the tunes on Here's Tom... appear, on the surface, unaffectedly simple and unrestrained. But, if you look deeper you'll find complex and genuinelyfulfilling songs.
Opening track "As Long As I've Got You" is stripped down to basics, a beautifully crafted song that sets the tone for the album ahead.You're instantly reminded why the word genius is rarely far from critics lips when talking about Mick Head's song writing.Similarly forthcoming single "Byrds Turn To Stone" is a beautiful, lilting, folk ballad.
Shack's subtlety isn't just about being lo-fi. "Miles Apart", one of the handful of tracks written by John Head, contains a gorgeous string arrangement alongside achingly plaintive vocals. And "Meant To Be" incorporates mariachi horns in a spiralling crescendo.
Shack are back and in exquisite form, even if initially they do sound slightly muted.They do say that if you sing loudly you will be heard, but if you sing quietly you will be listened to.I recommend that you listen pretty carefully to this for some time to come.