LABEL: Sour Mash
01. I Know You Well
* new tracks
When Michael and John Head’s first band The Pale Fountains signed for Virgin in 1982, they were tipped for big things.
It never happened. Just a few years later, the band split and, though the Head brothers re-emerged a few years later as Shack, the subsequent decade saw them lurch from one disaster to another: recording studio fires, precious record masters mislaid, record company woes... And, of course, all those years lost to addiction. You can be sure that this hits collection, intriguingly titled Time Machine, is no postscript. Collating songs from their last four studio albums, plus a pair of early singles, it is anything but comprehensive. Copyright issues dictate that debut record Zilch and Mick Head side project The Magical World of the Strands are excluded, but, still, there’s plenty to work with. In chronological order, Waterpistol, HMS Fable, Here’s Tom with the Weather, and last year’s ...The Corner of Miles and Gil are all roughly equally represented. Arguably the band’s masterpiece, HMS Fable, found Shack dabbling in ‘straight’ guitar-pop. Several of its key tunes are included here, notably their biggest ever hit, Comedy (a number 44 smash) and fans’ favourite The Streets of Kenny, a British I’m Waiting for the Man, if you like. Since HMS Fable, the band has recoiled back to more familiar ground - psychedelic folk-pop, nestling somewhere between Love and The Byrds. The latter are name-checked on reflective Here’s Tom... single Byrds Turn to Stone, here overlooked in favour of less wonderful album tracks. Many of the selections seem arbitrary. Of the two new tracks, Holiday Abroad is the better, their most hummable tune of the decade. Wanda finds the band revisiting Rain territory. In many ways, however, Time Machine squanders the opportunity to showcase Shack’s very best material.
Influences / Similar Artists:
The Pale Fountains, The Strands, Wild Swans, Care, Echo & The Bunnymen,