Gleaming passed lo-fi, scoffing and laughing, and jumping headfirst into the no-fi pool Stephen Keane’s Slushy Guts project dabbles in a range of acoustic-folk-rock-noise. Recorded on cheap equipment and distorting vocals, production doesn’t really exist on this record, but that’s what makes it so god damn good.
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You listen to “Barely Standing”, the opener to Slushy Guts’ weirdass piece of fucking pop music, and you may just get it. If you’ve ever been in a bedroom and tried to write a pop song, but came out the other end with the same three notes playing on a circle in repeat as your voice badly warbles through improvised garble… you may release a record yet? When people talk about “bedroom pop”, this is what they should mean: a totally serendipitous tune that comes out of the bare necessities of sound.
As we proceed, we learn a lot more about Sir Guts, also known as Stephen Keane -- we discover he knows his way around chord progressions, light melodies and basic song structure. We come to know him as someone really just fucking about on his talents, with “Thoughts Hurt” striking a balance between a Velvets-esque guitar jaunting and some slapdash riffage. We come to see a folkie trapped in a self-imposed sea of lo-fi noise -- listen to the way the guitar line swings out of “Blue Born”, rounding on itself like a sabotaged old-school traditional. It’s followed by the cut-up and badly glued “Flags Waving In The Airless Vacuum of Space”, a non-tune of nothing for no-one, the kind you could imagine hearing on a very early Guided by Voices record.
You might argue Keane is doing too much, or aiming too aimless, but it’s clear that he finds charm in pop’s abstract, in the idea that you find a beautiful moment among a bunch of discarded ones. It’s a powerful idea, and with his wobbling near-baritone, you can hear Keane sorta winking at you about his album. There’s nothing to do but put on your anti-distortion hat and enjoy the nonsense.
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