shrag – there are don’t you find, certain words that one finds for reasons best left unknown, slightly objectionable or at the very least uneasy in mentioning throughout polite discourse. One such word is ‘gusset’. I only mention this because one of the blog entries on Scrag’s MS page simply says ’gusset’ followed by a rather embarrassed ’sorry’. Now obviously the majority of you (4 in total) are thinking why while the minority (hello you) has sought to peak behind the magicians curtain so to speak and thought hang on, why are you looking at a blog entry titled ’gusset’ and if you don’t mind me asking did you immediately go to it before all else expecting – well – whatever any right minded person would expect to find on a blog titled ’gusset’. Ah well you’ve caught me out – you see its like those emails you get ’fantastic job opportunity’, ’free money’ or ’Moz makes killer record’ – you know its bullshit and baloney and will waste precious seconds of your life – but then – you can’t help having a wee peak – though I must admit the latter mentioned I gave up on more years than I care to mention. So yes like the proverbial moth to a big bright bulb we were in there – though not literally. And yes we were partly disappointed and relieved – again in ’thank God for that’ and not in any other way you care to think. (Is this shovel I’m using to dig this hole big enough do you think?). Anyway it had me recalling the late Mr Peel going on at length (pretty much like this but obviously with more coherence and dare I say more humour) about a press release of a record he’d received that in its description used the words ‘glisten’ and ‘moist’ citing his discomfort and commenting that such words had be hoodwinked it seemed by the kind of readers letters submitted to the likes of Playboy in the early 70’s. Anyway we advocate the return to everyday speak of the word ‘squelch’ which to us sounds like it says on the tin. Why oh why did I start this? Blame Shrag who aside using the word ‘gusset’ (see above) have to be blamed for throwing our afternoon into something of a tailspin when we happened across their MS page. Delightfully demented, detuned and dandy, Shrag are bitter sweetly marked by a striking grating effervescence that sees them thoroughly equipped at stumping up finite slices of endearingly precocious and petulantly perky pop. These bruised sometimes hollowed other times fractured carefree nuggets springboard affectionately about your head space dousing you in vivid tones of a becoming day glo chirpiness. The sound richly extracted from a strange brew that alludes to a greater degree to an early Brix incarnation of the Fall as well as engaging a subtle waft of the Wedding Present in their more thoughtful moments and the much loved Decoration. Add to that the rainy day sourness of The Siddeley’s and Hey Paulette and the unrivalled impishness of an early career Pooh Sticks and you’re still no nearer to fully nailing the Shrag sound. Possessed of a delicious unkempt discordance (the fuzzy clang of the fizz bombing ‘dreams of dead animals’ and zig zagging sugar spun frenz of ‘heart open mouth shut’) they are apt to shift perspective and slow things to a blank and bleak though irrefutably beautiful murmur as found on the simply drop dead gorgeous ‘hopelessly wasted’ – the best moment here by some distance – a softly shuffling magnetic and majestic cutie of faded jubilance that strangely has you peaking out of the window to see if its snowing and frankly in terms of reference markers up there with the likes of the Fall’s ’Bill is Dead’ and the Teardrops ’Tiny Children’. Elsewhere there’s some tasty disco-fied frenetic white funk loveliness via ‘ghosts before breakfast’ and the adorably dismissively bitter and subtly sarcastic ‘forty five 45’s’. An album approaches record land shortly.

Feb 2009

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