Highlights: Tears Of A Landlord, Show Us Your Canines, Chasing Consummations, That’s Static, Jane With Dumbbells
Shrag’s third album, Canines, is for 2012 what Comet Gain’s Howl Of The Lonely Crowd was for 2011. Gorgeous, lush indie-rock that borrows from c-86 and gutsy twee-pop of The Pastels (with in-tune singing and maybe a little less edge) and the like. I can safely state here that as far as this sort of music goes, Canines is an immaculate album, tuneful and electrifying.
I really can’t find any faults with this one. I might mention that there are a two or three songs here I’m not too mad about (like the funky, repetitive “Devastating Bones”), but those are the inevitable and forgivable result of not bothering with diversity. Instrumentally, too, Shrag are tight as a drum. The guitar tone and terrific bass lines create beautiful, dense chemistry that peaks with that 40-second aural orgasm that ends “Show Us Your Canines”; and the soaring violin of the following track, “Chasing Consummations”, brings the already good song to a whole new level of greatness.
The melodies are uniformly impressive, with the infectious “That’s Static” being the one that will stay stuck in your mind for the longest while (would have been a brilliant addition to Elastica’s classic debut). Also worth mentioning is the sweet, pretty closer, “Jane With Dumbbells” that will make you think fondly of Moe Tucker.
I know I’ve given a handful of half-assed 8’s lately, but this is quite different. This is the real deal; and the moment you hear that ‘no one likes the tears of a landlord’ line in the album’s opener, you will know that.