The lackadaisical indie dawdle which was at the heart of some of Shack‘s finer moments is a rare and splendid thing, its deftly constructed artifice of effortlessness a fine balance so infrequently achieved by others. The marvellously titled ‘To The Death Of Fun’ is an album which can take up its position in this select group, thanks in no small part to some wonderful production at the hands of David Holmes, not that his specific influence is especially obvious for the most part.
Recent single ‘Goldstar‘ leaps around unashamedly, blessed with a harmonica solo to die for. That’s a phrase I honestly never thought I’d ever write. I mean, let’s face it, harmonicas are largely a shitty little blight on the world of music, aren’t they? Not here. ‘Make You Feel Better‘, a member of the army of almost whispered indie tunes, has a gloriously wafting backdrop, evoking that summer smash that never was: ‘A Very English Summer’ by Future Loop Foundation.
Chiming, swooshing gem ‘Lost At Sea’ is the highpoint, sounding euphoric without being huge; its sustained, slightly thin sound stops it becoming cloyingly saccharine. The occasional noodly bits of noise and washes of moog also serve to keep this fine debut’s sound sufficiently varied, the drawn out, deliberately anti-climactic ending to ‘Flick Of The Wrist’ a case in point.
When ‘The Lighthouse Will Lead You Out’ breaks down into something altogether more loose, a floaty, instrumental passage in which producer Holmes’ presence is most obviously noticed, it feels like a gorgeous release from the, still perfectly pleasant, constraints of meticulous jangle up to this point. It serves to highlight the fact that that there’s more than just mechanical strumming at the heart of the songs on this powerful debut.
‘To The Death Of Fun’ is an album I’ve been playing whenever we’ve managed patches of sunshine these last few months and I suspect it will suit the balmy days in August rather more than the current drizzle of June. While Cashier No.9 haven’t arrived fully formed – by no means a bad thing – there’s plenty here to like and several songs to wholeheartedly adore. The second album could well be quite spectacular.
‘To The Death Of Fun’ is out now on Bella Union.