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8/10 Andy L Customer review, 5th January 2015
Shrag's debut album proper (following an earlier singles collection) is largely composed of scabrous post-punk pop, leavened by singer Helen King's infectious yelping vocals and her imaginative literary wordplay. The lyric sheet is one of the most important parts of any Shrag record (attention, downloaders), where the full nuances of King's intelligent and complicated worldview can be taken at a more leisurely pace, rather than lost in the midst of the band's nervy, infectious sound. Certainly, lines like 'The habit creep, that prehensile beast' ("The Habit Creep") or 'I'll be the one who reifies your nights' ("Coda") indicate a relentlessly inventive approach to lyric writing, which was to be developed further on their (even better) final album "Canines". But there's no shortage of highlights here. Single "Rabbit Kids" is a yearning, stomping indiepop anthem, and the vocal interplay between King and guitarist Bob Brown on "Tights in August" and "Coda" makes for essential listening, full of wit and heartbreak in equal measure. A bit of filler? Perhaps, but at least three quarters of this is absolutely essential and there are no real stinkers here, so anyone with even a passing interest in the band will not be disappointed.
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