Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Shulgin's Weans

Long before any mountains got moved, or 'Eberneezer Goode' turned up on the scene, The Shamen were a psychedelic rock band; but as time progressed they gently morphed into an experimental electronic outfit; finally finding a niche in commercial territory as a very successful dance act.

This mini-LP from 1989 captures the band during two of their transitional periods.

The bulk of Phorward, six tracks originally released on 10" vinyl, followed in the wake of the album In Gorbachev We Trust, a release that reflected the band's artistic change and genre switch.
Phorward is a lot less commercial than Gorbachev - using commercial as an indicator to the closeness of a 'Pop' sound - and seems to reflect the band in a bit of a quandary; not knowing quite where to take their music; not yet deciding as to whether they should take a more experimental approach (which Phorward does) or adopt a more commercial sound, catch the zeitgeist and give the mainstream what they want: bouncy electronica with a bangin' chorus!

Hence: "Move any mountain" and "Eezer Goode, Eezer Goode; he's Ebeneezer Goode".

The other two tracks, 'Happy Days' and 'Knature of a Girl', that came with the original release - literally; pressed as a 7" white label (actually it's pale pink), no explanation, no information - are now identifiable as the S and N Sessions (something to do with Scottish drinking habits...), and capture the band before they lay their guitars down.
It's a great sound, and in some ways a pity they didn't take it further; but time was the master, and we could all do with a bit of money in the bank, right...

(The other thing I really liked about The Shamen was their great sense of wordplay (not always as hackneyed as "Eezer Goode, Eezer Goode", although that did cause quite a stir at the time) and the way they played around with spelling conventions; just like the mighty Slade dun.)

The Shamen - Phorward (1989)

You, Me and Everything (Else)
Splash 3
Negation State
ssd 89
Happy Days
Knature of a Girl

Decent vinyl rip @320kbs
Go phast phorward here


Anonymous said...

I was lucky enough to catch the band twice in 89 and a few more times after that up till Will died.

They were excellent then and sadly became crap - this for me was as good as it got.

Cheers Roy


roy rocket said...

Yes, this really was approaching the end... but all good things, and all that.
They always did a great show though.
Regards, roy

Anonymous said...

Also saw them before they became crap!! Top post, cheers, Andy

Yenlit said...

Will Sin era - good!
Mr C era - embarrassingly bad!!

Yenlit said...

In Gorbachev We Trust was one of the first albums I bought on the then new fangled, futuristic CDs - remember according to Tomorrows World you could smear them with jam and they'd still play perfectly of course if you'd just paid a fortune for a new CD player the first thing you're not going to do is fill it full of strawberry jam on a whim?! Where would the likes of EMF and Jesus Jones have been without the pioneering crossover antics of the pre-commercial success Shamen? My favourites were Jesus Loves Amerika and Raspberry Infundibulum merely because I was a swot and knew what infundibulum meant!

roy rocket said...

OOh, there's a memory; the first CD.
(The first I heard was Thin Lizzy's 'Jailbreak': ball-breaking!).
The Shamen were to blame for many a decent (and bad) sound inspired by their change of direction.
Yeah, cutting-edge. Once.
Ever see the vid for 'Jesus'?
That was pretty progressive.
I saw it on 'Snub TV', when TV was still worth looking at...
ah, the daze.
Regards, roy

Anonymous said...

Happy days was to be used of a lager ad only to be withdrawn at the last minute. S and N was the lager company Scottish and Newcastle.

roy rocket said...


Bax said...

Scottish and Newcastle paid the Shamen to write a song for their lager advert. The advert was quickly pulled when S&N realised what "Happy Days" was actually about, leaving The Shamen smirking all the way to the bank.

roy rocket said...

Funny you should mention it