Sunday, December 7, 2008

Holy crap! I got reviewed by Pitchfork!

...last year, for a ten-year-old recording, but HEY! I'll take it.

Shatterproof: "Prozac Melody" [from Splinter Queen; MCA; 1996; r: Catlick; 2007]
In a different 1996, Shatterproof would've been a success story-- maybe a modest one, with a single enduring alt-rock chart entry á la Spacehog or fellow Minneapolitans Semisonic, but a success story nonetheless. In the actual 1996, MCA didn't find anything compelling in Shatterproof's grandiose college-friendly Badfinger/George Harrison-style power pop, and the band wound up being purged from their Fort Apache imprint before their sophomore record could be released. Shatterproof were repeatedly denied a shot at releasing their second album's recordings elsewhere and eventually broke up, and when I heard this song for the first and only time on college radio a year or two later, it was credited to two of the ex-members' subsequent band, Lunar 9. Some 10 years later, in the middle of a period spent listening primarily to rap, dubstep, r&b, and the odd bit of stoner rock, I stumbled across this song again on an otherwise lukewarm reissue of Shatterproof's indefinitely shelved MCA recordings. For a song I'd spent so little time actually hearing and so much more time trying to reconstruct inside my head, "Prozac Melody" was surprisingly close to what I thought it should've sounded like: a leisurely but massive-sounding guitar overlaid with a bed of pseudo-orchestral keyboards and a warmly Anglophilic borderline-falsetto lead vocal. The one thing that I forgot: the weirdly mordant, mournful-slash-cheerful cast to the lyrics: "I get my sunshine from a pill/ It's my Prozac melody/ I fell in love with someone ill/ It's my Prozac melody." It's even got a huge anthemic build-up at the end, which I really wish a festival crowd could've gotten the chance to sing along with. [Nate Patrin]

One thing I disagree with: "Splinter Queen," which is available on iTunes, is nowhere near lukewarm, its fucking genius and you all should rush over and download it IMMEDIATELY if you haven't already, 'cause its kinda fucking great. The combination of my erstwhile nemesis/songwriting-partner/best-friend Jay Hurley's melancholic but extremely celebratory melodicism and my Brian-Wilson-By-Way-Of-The-Mid-90s arrangements makes for what *I* think is a lost gem of the era, and to my mind, "Mum's The Word" is the best thing on there. As for the rest -- heh, sure! FEED MY EGO. It needs it. (Thanks to Ashley for finding that review!)

PS: I am ALL ABOUT "weirdly mordant, mournful-slash-cheerful." Its kinda awesome that he LIKED that, so many other people in my life have had a problem that I write these extremely cheerful songs that always have the saddest, most depressing lyrics, but that's kind of what I'm about. Like a piece of rich chocolate candy filled with arsenic.

(EDIT) PSS: I should mention that the "massive singalong coda" was written by Chris Hill, auteur and songwriter for Mercurial Rage, and its always been my fave part of the song.

7 comments:

Prince Gomolvilas said...

How weird and awesome, coming across that review! I'm gonna check out the tuneage!

Ashley said...

You forgot to mention the very important fact that Splinter Queen got it's offical release on Cat Lick on my birfday!

I think it may be time for a Shatterproof reunion!

Ashley said...

You forgot to mention the very important fact that Splinter Queen got it's offical release on Cat Lick on my birfday!

I think it may be time for a Shatterproof reunion!

LAP said...

Nice Badfinger comparison, and it's true that the contrast of sad sentiments with an insanely uplifting melodic hook makes for the best music ever.

It's nice to find notice for something you're so proud of. Plus you deserve it!

belsum said...

I love Prozac Melody.

Anonymous said...

First half of Splinter Queen is the dog's danglers. Second half, meh. Still, you guys deserved much better.

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