Shrag - Life Death Prizes (Music CD)

Release Date: 11 October 2010
Artist: Shrag
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If you are a fan of Los Compassions early recordings, you ll probably find Shrag s 2010 album Life Death Prizes to be the cure for the arty malaise that settled over them (and the listener) like a gloomy haze. Early LC records surged and roiled like the primal emotions inside a teenager, merging the angular and off-kilter feel of post-punk with the tunefulness of C-86 into an instantly loveable sound, and so does this. Built around loud and raw guitars, stop/start rhythms, loud/quiet dynamics, alternately shouted and crooned boy/girl vocals, and the kind of songs you want to hear playing loud all day and then quietly at night, Life Death Prizes is a thrillingly romantic, bleedingly emotional album for people who want some bite in their pop. The band takes whole chunks out of the Campesinos playbook, but makes something new out of it, something in the same ball park but different enough to be all their own. (Oh, add in some Love Is All too (mainly in the wobbly but true vocals of Helen King) for good measure.) A song like "Rabbit Kids" (the best song on the album) has a tenderness that the Campesinos never managed, both in the lyrics and in the vocals. Other songs display this same quiet heart, some even manage a kind of epic-ish beauty (the lovely "Coda"), but the bulk of the record is made up of songs with a more desperate, unsettled feel. The skittery guitars, vocal interjections, and ramped-up drums of "Ghosts Before Breakfast" is a prime example, so is "A Certain Violence", which kicks off the album with an untidy shove. This balance of quiet and loud, calm and jittery, emotional and introspective, is something Los Campesinos (and to a lesser extent Love Is All) were close to perfecting at one point. Now it s Shrag s turn. It may seem tiresome (and maybe insulting) to insist on comparing the two bands, but since at one time the Campesinos were the best band of this style around, maybe it s not so bad to say Shrag has claimed that title with Life Death Prizes.
Release Date: 11 October 2010
Artist: Shrag

1. Certain Violence, A
2. Stubborn Or Bust
3. Their Stats
4. Tights In August
5. Ghosts Before Breakfast
6. Habit Creep, The
7. Rabbit Kids
8. Faux-Coda
9. When We Go Courting
10. Furnishings
11. More Than Mornings
12. Coda

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Catalogue No: WIACD022