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Shit And Shine – 54 Synth-Brass, 38 Metal Guitar, 65 Cathedral

  • Written by  Rob Crozier

At last the search for the best album title ever is over.  A wonderful album named 54 Synth-Brass, 38 Metal Guitar, 65 Cathedral is offered up from the equally wonderfully named band Shit And Shine.

The album title goes some way to describe the onslaught of sound which this band project. The band is the brainchild of Craig Clouse, a Texas-based musician who sounds like some old school mad German scientist. Clouse has assembled a collection of like-minded individuals to produce ear-splitting industrial sounds.

Make no mistake that this is a straight up dance album. What is different however, is the avalanche of twisted electronica. The first two tracks ‘Electric Pony 2’ and ‘C2-6’ at ten minutes in length find Clouse pumping out industrial basslines mixed with a weird and wonderful array of distortions. These opening tracks carve out hypnotic soundscapes with more than a hint of krautrock inspiration.

‘Cowboy Hat’ and ‘Goat $hit’ are wonderfully named shorter tracks that plunge your ears into a dark dungeon of sound, with pounding hip-hop beats and warped disturbing vocals. ‘Love Your Hair – Hope You Win!’ is a slight move away from the hypnotic trance sound of previous tracks and it attempts to offer something different. Funky guitar samples begin to lift us out of the dungeon of sound. They are joined by big beats in the style of The Chemical Brothers, unfortunately the track drops off in intensity after a strong opening to leave a rather boring and slow paced ending.

‘Writing Poetry On Your Forehead With The Tip Of A Hunting Knife’ is obviously never going to be a normal, run-of-the-mill album track, yet it is bonkers even by this album’s standard. Blasts of distorted tubas mix with weird vocal samples played over relaxed trip hop beats. You get the sense that at times we are living in Clouse's sound factory. To some this continued assault of sound could feel too much of a challenge, as this album does require a certain amount of effort. The final track ‘Egg MM - Muffin/Pimp Different’ is another ten minute effort, which does little but confirm that this album is an uncanny experiment in sound. 

If you welcome experiments in music, then this album if definitely for you, although at times you feel you are being challenged as this whole album is by no means an “easy listen”. However, the benefits are that this is certainly something new, very bold and certainly unlike anything else you’ll hear in a long time.

54 Synth-Brass, 38 Metal Guitar, 65 Cathedral is available from amazon.

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