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A review of...
Megadead by Benjamin Shaw
We haven't heard much from Benjamin Shaw over the past couple of years. Well... we haven't heard his actual voice on an album anyway. His last two records have been instrumentals (including 2015's superb Guppy) and he's moved about as far away from this land as it's possible to be: Melbourne, Australia. So here, with his first vocal release since Goodbye, Kagoul World came out back in 2014, it's nice to hear what he's got to say. As you might expect if you've heard any of Shaw's previous recordings, it's not entirely positive, but's it's not 100% gloomy either. Shaw has a knack of gently railing against the madness in society and mundane life with a healthy dose of self deprecating wit. Lines like "you're all terrible people with terrible clothes" or "hey apocalypse, it's nice to know you still be trying to lift me by the hips" probably sum up the general mood.
As a whole though, the album seems to combine the DIY bedroom folk or his previous Audio Antihero releases with the more experimental electronic output from his instrumental albums. It works surprisingly well too. Highlights include "Melanomates" which starts off like Ladies and Gentleman era Spiritualized before the music segues into a kind of Super Furry Animals pop-madness. Then there's the low budget sci-fi movie synths on "Blue Teeth Thursdays" which compliment Shaw's sad vocals and low-key guitar strums where they could easily have trodden all over them in less capable hands.
With Megadead, Benjamin Shaw has taken another stride forwards, and come up with another great album.