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Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Shambles Miller – Shambles sails the clockwork sea

After being suitably impressed with a recent live outing from Shambles Miller I went cash in hand and bought his ep from him.
Then I crossed my fingers and fervently hoped that the agit-folk humour of his performance was something that could be captured in the studio.
Thankfully it was, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that the first track 'Strike' avoided capitalizing on his intelligently wry outlook on life, and instead concentrated on pushing forth an unvarnished message of solidarity.
There's not many people can sing a protest song with socialist leanings and not come across as being slightly anachronistic, but to my ears this is a song that sounds rooted in the present.
The heart on the sleeve aspect is a complete winner, and as a confirmed socialist myself it hits every button that I would want from a song that covers the out of fashion need for unionisation.
Following on from this 'Things that make me angry' - a stand out song from his live set - confirms that my parting of some hard end mullah was a well spent investment.
It's an ode to all our pet hates and the little things that we shouldn't sweat that then takes a turn and finds them juxtaposed with the real issues of life. Lying politicians, fascists and those who would send people to war all get outed, and of course they matter far more than an ever increasing waistband or a misspelt text message.
It's lyrically powerful and funny at the same time. A musical equivalent of how the best comedians will attack a subject and you can laugh, but it will also make you think.
It does it no harm that it sounds like the Barenaked Ladies with a social conscience either.
The penultimate track 'Beer Song' will be easily recognisable as the memory of the night before the hangover from hell.
Although I don't actually recall any of my friends shitting in a washing machine, or at least I'm not admitting anything without a lawyer present.
Anyway, any song that references the Scottish hangover cure of a fry up and a glass of irn bru is all right by me.
The short ep finishes on 'Alice's Song'. A little track that pays homage to friends from the past and how they can enrich your life.
It's a lovely sentiment and the perfect ending to an introduction to Shambles Miller's talents.
I think other reviewers will maybe use the word ditties a lot when talking about this ep.
I consciously didn't, until just there the now.

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