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Shit And Shine
Some People Really Know How To Live Brendan Telford , October 18th, 2017 16:51

The kind of album that jerks and staggers through your dreams and lingers into waking life.

This is Shit & Shine, but not as we know them. But then, Craig Clouse have and his merry melee of sonic marauders always been the bastardisers of self-invention and loss of control. The first two times I saw them play they fried my brain in an outer London field with multi-limbed, multi-percussive depth charges and paint-stripper intensity, followed months later by a two-person white-noise dirge at Madame Jojos. Every time since has been a maelstrom of chameleonic concoctions, with the only constant a spiked through-line in mayhem.

So the jumping-off-the-tracks derailment of these noise rock proclivities for a more electronic dancefloor annihilation shouldn’t be that much of a surprise. But in the liquid, lysergic bangers that permeate Editions Mego-backed Some People Really Know How To Live, the shock is in how focused they are on darkening the corners of the dancefloor - it’s a synthetic horror-thriller soundtrack in the Escher-on-ludes catacombs of a neverending comedown, while remaining entirely accessible. Shit & Shine are dark masters of the nihilistic nocturnal beat.

It starts off innocuously enough with the nominal melt of ‘Behind You Back’, a minimal (and minimally threatening) hiccup and wooze number that falters and stutters, a nighttime malaise interspersed with just-outside-the-window shouts, wavering snare taps and a oscillating synthline that sounds like something alien powering up but never coming fully awake. Then the nervous clatter and agency of ‘Dish 2 Dish’ manages to infuse a dub-flecked undercurrent with popping angularity and abrasion – body movements designed to cut and flail against digital restraints. Overlaid effects fight with each other for control, constantly threatening to break things open or apart.

The samples on ‘Lil Wannabe Gangsta’ and ‘Raining Horses’ are incongruous - they seem to come from nondescript vanilla television programmes but are distorted and amplified into the demented drawls and growls of a nightcrawler and trash humper, lurking in the shadows of a cyberpunk alleyway in perennial twilight, filmed on putrefying VHS.

Only Shit & Shine could offer up tracks like ‘Notified’, where machines are stretched and compressed til everything is combusting and disintegrating yet fingers remain on dials beyond the point of no return, dancing into the maw of a hellmouth of their own creation. ‘Man Bunny’ skitters and falters, and fits its moniker if you imagine a man-sized Energizer rabbit suffering seizures in stop-motion. The Ween-meets-Mr Oizo underwater embryonic starbursts driving ‘Blink Von Der Berg’ are run-down and nimble, a juxtaposition that makes sense when the electric whine of a bad speaker connection infiltrates the final 15 seconds, heralding the last gasp that this percolator of a track has promised from the opening seconds.

Some People Really Know How To Live is a work of germinating skill. Clouse is playing with the electronic form and in genres that he brings his own warped countenance to. There’s a grimy naivety and dislocated dexterity. The songs perplex and disturb but they also spark rhythm. This is the kind of album that haunts your dreams and lingers into waking life, the soundtrack to sleep paralysis, the score of your Lynchian demise.

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