ARTIST: Shudder to Think TITLE: Funeral at the Movies YEAR RELEASED: 1991 CHART ACTION: None SINGLES: None OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Red House (their original version is here – they’d revisit it for a later B-side and an album) LINEUP: Craig Wedren, Chris Matthews, Stuart Hill, Mike Russell WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Another step forward for the odd arty Dischord band.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: After two full length albums, Shudder to Think goes the EP route with this release. It’s a sharper, clearer and more focused. You can hear Wedren really going for somewhat skewed melodies and the overdubbed harmonies that they’d later use to great effect. Wedren also is more confident of his high register and he lets loose once in a while.
There’s a noise experiment here on the second half of a song that kind of puts the whole thing down, but there’s some good material here (5 ½ songs worth) and it’s a good investment for those who like the kind of arty post-punk sound.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Originally, there was a version of “Crosstown Traffic” but it’s not streaming. Hmpf.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No, but it was combined on CD with Ten Spot.
GRADE: B+: Downgraded for the loss of a song and the noise on ½ of a song. Art, though.
ARTIST: Shudder to Think TITLE: Ten Spot YEAR RELEASED: 1990 CHART ACTION: None SINGLES: Jade-Dust Eyes OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Only if you collected the Dischord catalog. LINEUP: Craig Wedren, Stuart Hill, Chris Matthews, Mike Russell WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: STT’s first Dischord record has some definite good to great moments, but seems a little restrained and the songs tend to run together. Still, there are good moments where Wedren’s idiosyncratic vocals and lyrics stand out.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The first Dischord record for the art punk band Shudder to Think has some high points. The first few cuts are enticing to the listener, with Wedren’s unique voice and art-damaged lyrics setting a great tone.
The last cuts on the album also have some excitement to them. The issue is the middle of the album. It seems that STT is in a rut there. Yes, they’re still a young band trying to find themselves, but it seems that many of the middle cuts on this album have the same basic sound, structure and vocal melodies. They’re really hard to discern one from another. Wedren also doesn’t hit his high vibrato as much as he can or should.
This isn’t peak Shudder to Think, where Wedren’s freak flag flies and the band plays in many different styles and colorations. This is competent and decent arty oddball punk.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Jade-Dust Eyes was released on a split single with a song by Unrest.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: It was part of a two-fer with an EP, but for streaming they separated themselves.
GRADE: B+: Some of this holds the listener, but some of this just lets the listener go. Individually the songs are good, but the sequencing of similar songs in the middle is a little problematic for me.
ARTIST: Shudder To Think TITLE: Curses, Spells, Voodoo, Mooses YEAR RELEASED: 1989 CHART ACTION: Nope SINGLES: Abysmal Yellow Popcorn Wall OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: None. Heck, I didn’t know it existed until this year. LINEUP: Craig Wedren, Stuart Hill, Chris Matthews, Mike Russell WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Early, pre-Dischord album has all of the component parts for Shudder to Think – interesting vocals (especially when Wedren gets high in his register with vibrato), off-kilter songwriting, arty touches and some punk rock influences.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: As I said, I had no idea this existed until I started stocking my Google Play library for this project. So I was interested and a bit nervous as sometimes early albums from indie bands can be a bit pre-cooked, as it were.
I was a little surprised – the band sounds pretty much like they did in their Dischord era. The sound may be a bit muddy, and they’re not taking as many chances with meter, song structure or lyrical oddities. Yet, it’s a decent effort for a band that would break the Dischord mold in many ways and Werdren is in pretty good voice. As in, he stretches himself and hits those high wavering notes like always.
This is probably for fans, really, but it’s not half bad. NOTES & MINUTIAE: They did record even before this record as part of a compilation released in 1987.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, they append a couple of singles to the end.
GRADE: B: For fans, but it won’t drive anyone away from the band.