Shjrunken Heads have been frequently popping up on our radar and we recently had the opportunity to go see them. They were excellent. Furthermore they released a 4 track EP back in November called ‘Rainham Steel’.
This is their first release in which they moved away from free-form improv.
Although they have retained the feeling of something that stemmed from jams they have carefully structured the build up of these songs. To describe their sound would be a sort of hypnotic krautrock meets the Residents mix.
Opening track Earthwork opens with a phrase that is indeliby imprinted in the brain of every Londoner – “See it, say it, sorted”. The only other lyrics being “Television in the morning, television in the evening”. We assume this is some kind of commentary on the mindless act of watching TV and taking its word as gospel.
There is a Clinic-like quality to this song.
The vocals are effected with back-slap echo that gives them that wispy feel and what sounds like a melody horn is introduced around half way through. It is a steady opener that paves the way for this EP to build.
Running on XP has a great groove, the bass and drums locking things down while the guitar and synth whirl around, whipping up a heady noise. There is a brilliant climax around the 2 minutes 40 where the guitars and synth really take off before dropping back into the motoric groove. This satisfyingly repeats.
Drunk Tank has a kind of strange Residents-like quality to it (particularly in the vocals) and may be the highlight on this EP. With Stranger Things style synth arpeggio, marching drums and mad guitar sounds. SKRUNK is another rhythmic masterclass – there are a lot of polyrhythms taking place which demands the listener’s attention. There are some nicely placed vocal wails, a great hook around the three minute mark and wondering synths before the whole thing stutters and falls apart. All in all an enjoyable EP.
You may enjoy this if you like: Neu!, Can, Clinic, The Residents, Now