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A review of...

You & Me EP by Benjamin Shaw

You & Me EP
October 6, 2014
Adam Millard

The gist

Benjamin Shaw and friends tackle the same song in very different ways

The music

What do you do when you haven't got enough b-sides to release a single? Get your mates to supply them obviously. This is the plan hatched by Benjamin Shaw and the Audio Antihero label for an EP dedicated to one of the "lighter" tracks on Shaw's downbeat, but ultimately rewarding Goodbye, Cagoule World. "You & Me" has been reworked by Jack Hayter (ex-Hefner), Cloud and Broken Shoulder and the surprising thing is that Shaw's own version is the most upbeat of them all. In fact the versions seem to get more and more abstract as the EP goes on.

Jack Hayter, perhaps unsurprisingly given his history, saturates the track with slide guitar, organ, ramshackle drums and a world wary vocal. It turns "You & Me" into a kind of urban sea shanty, whilst keeping the basic song structure intact.

Cloud, fresh from their wonderful 2013 album Comfort Songs, dismantle the song completely and introduce various elements (though you'd be pushed to pick them out) at a sleepwalking pace. It's an atmospheric three and a half minutes which whets the appetite for further Cloud endeavors.

The best is saved 'til last though as Broken Shoulder (unfamiliar to me, until now) takes the most liberties with the source material and turns the song into a desolate soundscape, kinda turning "You and Me" into just "You", singular, alone. The song's ghostly melody does still ring out though, adding an air of bleak optimism to the narrative.

An interesting project, and a nice reminder of Benjamin Shaw's song-writing talent.

Listen to

"You & Me" - any of them really.

Listen if... you like the song "You & Me", Benjamin Shaw, Cloud, Jack Hayter, Broken Shoulder