Shudder to Think’s 1990 LP, the first that they dropped on Dischord, is put to wax once again here. In some senses - the palm-muted rhythms, the ferocious tub-thumping, Bad Brains-y squaws of guitar - it’s classic Dischord fare. In others - the theatrical flourishes that pepper each track, some strong glam influence, and a singer pitched somewhere between Kate Bush and Jeff Buckley - it is an outlier in the label’s discography. Worthy of exploration, this edition comes with new artwork by Heather Hendrix Russell.
LP £15.49 DIS46V
Blue coloured vinyl reissue LP on Dischord - remastered from the original tapes. Artwork has been revised courtesy of Heather Hendrix Russell.
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Let's hope this re-issue of Shudder to Think's debut album has been re-mastered. Their original albums though musically exceptional suffer from the kind of quiet '90s mastering that suggests the record was played out of some speakers and recorded onto a tape recorder. Drums high enough in the mix to make you feel you are listening to the band outside a tent at a festival. If this has been rectified then this is a must buy. The band played a superbly complex cross breed of Dischord-friendly guitar attack, prog-like compositions all topped off by Craig Wedren's superb voice. He swoops and hollers all over this like Jeff Buckley somersaulting over Fugazi.
Though Shudder to Think were ostensibly a rock band they had a superb melodic pop edge which seers it's way into these brilliantly energetic tracks. On 'Rag' the musical juggernaut explodes into a superb tangle of melodious chorus, Wedren's voice lives on the edge of falsetto, always ready to octave leap whilst his strange lyrics painting semi-linear pictures over the rapturous music....always something just slightly unhinged about it. They finally let go on 'Vacation Brain' which has to be one of the greatest moments of the '90s. It follows on from 'On the Rain' which is kind of as if Kate Bush signed to SST, but 'Vacation Brain' throws all the correct shapes. It's insanely catchy - it sounds more like the dBs than Husker Du but like those early Pixies record it magnificently combines angular with tuneful. Wedren's voice is outrageous hitting all kinds of notes...and then.. a sort of Thin Lizzy guitar solo.
What. A. Band.
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