The Bush of Goats

Marc Williams, writer & designer: 'Life's too short for empty slog ans'

‘What seemed like a kick in the Shins…’

I had a good meeting at the BBC yesterday and was travelling back from there, when shuffle (‘oh how I love thee managed randomness!’) threw up something by The Shins.
When it came out, ‘Chutes Too Narrow’ was on constant repeat on my iPod and was on the way to becoming one of my all time best favourite albums of the last few years ever – mostly because of James Mercer’s exquisite lyrics (‘Gold teeth and a curse for this town,’ is one of my all time favourite opening lines). But I had stopped listening to them.
Why? The drumming :(.
Now, I am hopelessly inept at drumming as I find the flight control required to keep all four limbs on separate trajectories virtually impossible. But I can recognise talent when I hear it (There should be a kinetic statue in space to Jon Bonham; the guy who plays for Franz Ferdinand is a genius) but the Shins skins man is not a particularly adventurous thwacker, and I”ve always found the sound a bit flat and lacklustre. I used to tut. ‘they should get another drummer – they could be huge’.
But listening now, from a different perspective, what I realise is the importance of the team: he might not be the greatest drummer, but how is it possible to calculate his value to the other members of The Shins? Maybe he acts as a moderating force, or an orchestrator. Maybe he has an ear for a musical phrase; maybe James would be lost for words if it wasn’t for his Lemon drizzle cake (I’m just speculating here: I have no idea whether he makes cakes, Lemon or otherwise). But you get the jist.
In a way, this connects back to that Tom Taylor thing I mentioned about creating software (in this case, music) and seeing how it works, then building it again with the benefits of experience: There is no one music; there is not even only one Shins album.
Hmm, *beard*.

Go find out about The Shins


Filed under: Noticing


February 2009


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