Thursday, 23 May 2013

Review: Shortstraw's Good Morning, Sunshine

This review was originally published in Perdeby on 20 May 2013.


“Woooo, woooo, you’re such a bitch in the morning,” sings Shortstraw frontman Alastair Thomas, launching a sputter of insults on “Good Morning, Sunshine”, the title track of their second offering.

Similar to their debut album, You’re Underfed, I’m Wonderful, it’s a collection of songs that conjure hair-whipping, hip-thrusting, booty-jiggling jiving that is so wrong that it’s right. Why? Simple. It’s practically impossible not to.

But don’t make a mistake in thinking Shortstraw’s sound has remained stagnant this time around. While Good Morning, Sunshine may still be doused with droll lyrics, it also reveals more introspective wordsmithing, the type that only sinks in later when you find yourself belting songs out in tedious traffic or when you’re elbow-deep in a sink of grimy dishes.

“Couch Potato” lambasts a generation of square-eyed youth who spend their lives in front of the TV, while “Cold Shoulder” admits that “There’s a wounded soldier to mend / So hold me closer tonight.”

And then there’s “LCBSS”, with its contrite chorus: “Sorry for everything / Sorry for everything else too / Sorry for the disappointment / Sorry for the fact that you’re alone / Life can be so shitty sometimes / I can be so shitty sometimes.”

Shortstraw is well aware of the value of putting swear words in the chorus of a song. People sing louder, as if collective cussing somehow gives the proverbial middle finger to everything that irks them in life: the neighbour’s podgy pooch that yelps at all hours, the ever-increasing petrol price, the fact that the Guptas landed their plane where they weren’t supposed to.

The familiar punch of fun is supplied by tracks like “127 Hours”, a song about that awkward moment when you see someone for the first time after some one-night loving.

“Mo Money”, a collaboration with rapper Zubz, is a hedonistic celebration of hitting the bar with an inhibition-less girl (“Now fill up your cup, it’s getting empty / You’re getting drunk, I’m getting thirsty”), while “Gimme My Fix (It’s Only Recreational)” is a song about how a person can be addictive (“Snap back, heart attack / You’re just like a ticket to the sun”).

“The Wedding Blues” is, perhaps, a song that finds itself somewhere in the middle, featuring Desmond & The Tutus frontman Shane Durrant as the best man rapping an embarrassing speech. It pokes fun at the convention of getting married, while at the same time pleading for you not to take it too seriously.

Does Shortstraw completely manage to translate their live energy, made all the more palpable by guitarist Tom Revington, into their recorded material? Not entirely, but this is only in praise of their live performances, which have morphed into high-octane spectaculars that prove that Shortstraw is a band to keep a beady eye on.

Listen to Good Morning, Sunshine below and then head on over to Shortstraw's Bandcamp page to download the album at a price of your choosing.


Read the interview I did with Shortstraw here

No comments:

Post a Comment