Reviews Roundup: Brian ‘Bordello’ Shea



Wand ‘Laughing Matter’
(Drag City) 19th April 2019


A wave of the Wand and the magic commences. An album of sublime modern life psychedelia, ‘Scarecrow’ kicks it all off with the sound of Radiohead melting in a honey tangle web of sunshine sadness. I cannot believe this band are not fans of the wonder that is Clinic; ‘XoXo’ could easily fit in amongst the Liverpool band’s finest. The repetitive synth and drum beat of that track descends into a mass wave of wonky a plonkyness.

This really is a fun listen, fun but with a dark undertow of sadness – a serial killer with a painted on smile on someone else’s face, or should that be someone else’s farce.

There is a balance to the madness that emits from this Laughing Matter, the more it goes on the more I lose myself in their crazy world of sullen sunshine; it’s a real pick you up in these days of uncertainty and sadness whether it be the Stone Roses meet Jed Clampett like instrumental ‘Hare’ or the fuzz bass monster of a wonder track, which is actually called ‘Wonder’, and is one of the finest pop moments on the whole album: which is actually full of them. ‘Airplane’ for instance is a nine-minute flight of beauty a true marvel of a track, air-pure vocals float over a reflective shadow of instrumental solitude only to explode in a mass of singular eclectic guitar frenzy. Track thirteen, ‘Lucky’s Sight’ is a modern space rock masterpiece; ‘Wonder (II)’ lives up to its name, and the final song, ‘Jennifer’s Gone’, is worthy of the mighty Lou Reed in his early 70s pomp.

Laughing Matter really is a fantastic album, and it reminds us that such makes delightfully heartbreakingly beautiful and adventurous music such as this is still being made and released.






Charly Bliss ‘Young Enough’
10th May 2019




To be honest I nearly dismissed this LP, but I’m glad I didn’t. As I don’t really think I’m the target audience Charly Bliss are going for – I probably have older guitars than this bunch of pesky kids.

I can though imagine my 20-year-old daughter loving this record; it is power pop, punk pop, or is it pop punk? Anyway, whatever it is they do it very well but pop music is pop music whatever your age, whether you are making it or listening to it and if you cannot enjoy well written catchy songs, if you cannot remember what is like to be young and falling in love for the first time or remember the yearning for the girl/guy you will never get or the girl/guy you did get but could not keep, if you cannot remember I recommend you give Young Enough a listen and all those wonderful happy sad memories will come flooding back.

It has the wonderful melancholy magic all great pop is blessed with, and Charly Bliss are blessed with a fine pop singer in Eva Hendricks who writes fine catchy pop punk songs with darker than normal lyrics: “Eyes like a funeral mouth like a bruise” she declares in the beautiful ballad ‘Hurt Me’.

So the next time one of my middle-aged friends says to me “they just do not know how to make music these days” I will think of this album and tell them to FUCK OFF!







Shit Creek ‘Prozac Rainbow’
(Wormhole World) 15th March 2019



I have been told many times that I’m going insane, and if so, this could be the LP to soundtrack my descent into that madness. This is not music as such, well actually it is, it has melodies it has an obscure soul to it that I find quite heartwarming.

It is not something you will hear if you tune into BBC 6 music during the daytime or night time, come to think of it, maybe the Freakzone if you are lucky.

Prozac Rainbow is a magic concoction of found sounds manipulated into a series of experimental sound bites; a wavitude of spellbinding oddities that verge not just on the psychedelic: The ‘Ice Cream Van Glimmering In the Nascent Sun’ track is a modern piece of psychedelic wonder though – Imagine the Clangers winding up a giant clock whilst kicking Roger Waters up the arse. Marvelous stuff indeed.

Once again that marvelous new record label Wormhole has unearthed another experimental gem, still available at the time of writing on very ltd cd. Get in there quick my beauties.







She Keeps Bees ‘Kinship’
(BB* Island) 10th May 2019



I am tense. I am uninspired. I am in need of an escape, something to take my mind off the general shallowness of modern life: mobile smart phones, ipads on buses, people losing themselves in the latest stream of facebook, twitter posts of mediocre mass produced mainstream music cluttering up my once invaluable, once best friend, the radio. I am in need of this LP by She Keeps Bees.

I need this call for the beauty hymn to nature. I need this maybe a modern equivalent to Gene Clark No Other album, all brushed drums haunting organ/keyboards strummed and plucked acoustic guitars that at times remind me of Nirvana’s finest moment [their Unplugged LP].

This LP is indeed a lifesaver; an LP to lose yourself in as the world turns from mad to insane. But there is power, there is magic in this life and that magic is music. And She Keeps Bee’s cast such wonderful spells.

I could give you many reasons why you should buy this LP, but I won’t. I will just say you need this album more than you will ever know.






Outside The Glitch ‘ST’
(Wormhole World) 22nd March 2019




What is the word I’m looking for? Ambiance. That is the word to describe this mini LP/EP; a work that Eno would no doubt put on his slippers to whilst lighting his pipe after a night out with Bryan Ferry, everybody’s favourite lounge lizard.

These five tracks you can imagine turning up in a late night thriller; one can smell the tension in the air; one could throw down ones towel and whisper quietly to your old time neighbour called Cecil and wish him a fond goodnight. Like good old canary sex it is both unexpected and highly unlikely. What on earth am I reading?! That’s probably what you are thinking to yourself as you read this review. Well that is my point, ambient music means different things to different people everybody has a different way of viewing things, one man’s goose is another man’s gander. Music like this sets people’s imagination floating in different directions.

This a fine release with a quintet of very mellow tracks that set one’s imagination into flight. From the sublime to the sublime, Wormhole Records should be congratulated on yet another unusual and different release: You really should check out their catalogue.






Julinko ‘Néktar’
(Toten Schwan/ Stoned To Death Records) 15th April 2019




Looking at the song titles I realised that this wasn’t going to be an album of happy disco stompers, and I was right. The intro, called ‘The Flowing Stream Plunge Me Deep’, is a beautiful short instrumental piece that sets the mood for the whole LP; an LP that has the decadent shimmer of an Autumn day spent with your dead memories, a slowed down purge of emotion of grief for a former lover who is not dead but still alive and living in the same town, the same house, you have to pass every day on the way to work, so you can afford to carry on with your mundane existence.

Néktar brings to the surface the same emotions you feel when listening the magic weaved by the Cocteau Twins. At times it reminds me of listening to PJ Harvey in slow motion; not the LP to play whilst doing the housework unless you live in 16th century castle surrounded by cobwebs with a hunchback dwarf sat on a wooden stool in the corner begging you to put away your broom and to pay him some attention.

This is indeed a dark beauty that is not only to be cherished but also indulged. A fine album indeed.



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