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Shudder To Think, Get Your Goat

In a comment to my last post Matthew Amster-Burton asked me what I thought of Shudder To Think. The only album I have of theirs is Get Your Goat from 1992 (Matthew has since informed me that he doesn’t think that’s their best, but it’s what I have), so I gave that a listen for the first time in ages.

I didn’t like it that much, which is pretty interesting. (I always think it’s interesting when I turn out to not like something that I should like based on my general tastes. Mark Helprin’s Winter’s Tale is a good example.)

I guess there are two questions here, why I don’t think it fits into this category and why I don’t like it much. In answer to the first, I think they’re too conscious of their artiness to qualify for the “naive” part. I’d put them in the same broad category as Deerhoof (who I do love) in this respect. Another thing making them seem like they’re explicitly trying to be artsy is that the singer seems to think he’s a real Singer rather than just some guy singing.

Secondly, why I don’t dig it? The dramatic singing bugs me some – that’s just personal taste (well, everything in this paragraph is personal taste). Also, the harmonic vocabulary rubs me the wrong way in a way that’s hard to verbalize. There are definitely stretches of music (and some whole songs) that I like, but overall it’s not my thing.

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