Saturday, September 5, 2009

Artsy Astronauts:

Trip Shakespeare, a long defunct Minneapolis-based American rock band was granted a permanent place in the early bunkers of my musical memory due to hearing their strange "Tool Master of Brainard" song repeatedly on the college radio station that I tuned into late at night. What a great song, full of glammed up guitars, a pounding rhythm section, and that unique Trip Shakespeare vocal approach that fused baroque harmonies with a decidedly goofy slant. I already posted that album back over here (oops-link is dead now. I'll repost if there is a request), so now it's time to get into their 1990 platter Across The Universe. This album carries the same trademark sounds that I have loved from this group, but this time the song craft has been sharpened a bit; revealing a bit more layered approach both in production and composition. The jangly songs are played harder, the sweet songs are sweeter, and the goofy element certainly comes into play on tracks like "The Nail" and "The Slacks" (whose lyric concept is so ridiculous that it boggles my mind that it was even recorded in a semi-serious manner). Personally, I find the more tuneful songs here to be most potent. Both "Gone, Gone, Gone" and "Late" are pristine examples of T.S.'s literary take on lyric writing and compelling and somewhat mysterious storytelling that grab the imagination while the sheer hook of the tune just drives the song deeper into the brain.

As I wrote in the previous post of this Trip Shakespeare, their music seemed to have it's own singular vision which I have never heard duplicated. Sure, the basic template is a big pop sound... T- Rex, XTC, Big Star, Posies are names that may come to mind; maybe even a little bit of Cheap trick in there. But in place of cool rockers playing this stuff, imagine the local college Poetry Club or Paisley Appreciation Society jamming it out. Yeah...corny, for sure; but a lot of fun.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Please re-post Are You Shakesperienced, or i'll go crazy and drive to the crack in the earth!