Last Show of Hearts
you haven't heard me spouting the virtues of Shade lately,
I must be out of hearing distance because every time I hear
their latest album, One Last Show of Hearts,
I look for people close enough to listen because I am fast
becoming a fan club all in myself. The band has recently
downsized to just Jane
pop genius Tim
that's fine with me, though I still yearn for that full band
sound of Shade's
first album, Highway.
The sound has not degraded at all, though, and they
multi-tracked parts so that you get the band and not just two
musicians plucking on instruments. It is Gowan, her guitar and
her voices, Vesely and his many instruments (have I mentioned
that he is a pop genius?) and the feel that made me fall in
love with them in the first place--- a sort of easy going and
minimal but not quite minimal feel. As I type, the album
version of Peace
of Mind plays
in the background and I'm almost skating through the mountains.
They have an instrumental version they posted on YouTube (watch
which makes me think of Neil
his excellent beginning to his solo career, The
Emperor of Wyoming,
and every time I hear it I know why I love these guys.
strike a note in me that very few artists or bands do. I love
simple pop and simple power pop and I absolutely crave
and harmony and Gowan gets it. Maybe Gowan and Vesely because I
don't have liner notes to work off of, so I'm assuming here
(and yes, I'm an ass). Through these seven songs, I get
everything I could want--- melodies which are good enough on
their own but are made so much better by the harmonies--- songs
perfectly fitted to Gowan's perfect/imperfect voice, not one to
probably impress the “judges” on the reality
travesties right now (proving to me that not only has music
become superfluous to the average music listener but that we
are on the verge of the apocalypse--- I stop by occasionally
when flipping channels thinking that maybe one of those
one-time but now washed up “stars” and now “judges”
will have a moment of clarity or at least intelligence, but I
think it's a lost cause--- they just suck, that's all). I have
daydreams in which Gowan performs one of her tunes on X-Factor
or American Idol or The Voice and they trash her and I, sitting
in the audience up to that point, jump on stage and pound every
one of their tin-eared asses into a bloody pulp. Wait. What?
Sorry about that. Sometimes being the only one with taste in a
world gone mad is almost more than I can bear, but such is the
was I saying? Ah, yes. Jane Gowan. You know what she is to me?
Yup. She's my
that every time I hear her, I know her like the back of my
hand, just as Costello's fans know him. Hey, I've heard
Costello plenty and he doesn't have a perfect voice either
except for the songs he writes and sings and then he's damn
near perfect. Do you get what I'm saying here? If you don't,
you're thick as a brick, to quote that weird guy who dances on
one foot whilst playing the flute.
what? While I was typing all of that, the album recycled back
to Peace of
God, but some days life is good, you know?
you what. I'm going to do you a favor here. I'm going to give
you a link to one of Shade's
bandcamp sites (here
so you can listen instead of read. I know. I'm a magnanimous
kind of a guy. Don't just listen for a second or even just
once. Listen a few times at a minimum. Start with Peace
of Mind because
in my head that is a Shade
drug, but from there go wherever you will. It's all good. For
me, it is much better than that. Which means that you can pry
from my head when I am dead. Or, if I'm lucky and there really
afterlife, I'll carry it with me.
O. Gutch Jr.