Shiny Darkly have a discovered that Chameleons sound in a dusty old box in a Copenhagen attic (probably left there around 2003)and treated it to a bit of a rub down with the best sonic beeswax on the market. In fact, they’ve taken it out, reclothed it and given it a slap up lunch, if you take the contents of this record at face value.
Sometimes, (probably round every fourth cycle of the moon if we had to give an indication of time) there comes a band that knocks out a racket that manages to sound like all your favourite records rolled into one. For a brief and spine-chillingly thrilling week, you are able to recalibrate all your old memories round this new band for whom, doubtless, your recollections (still just like yesterday in your mind) are ancient history. Shiny Darkly from Denmark, are such a band, and their latest EP* and new LP have just reawakened a lot of deeply buried stuff in me.
Now there’s been a lot of talk recently (or maybe for as long as I can remember) about the Chameleons being one of the greatest lost bands of all time. I’d agree. I love the Chameleons and every right minded Head should think so too. Why I mention Burgess & Reg’s bunch is that somehow Shiny Darkly have a discovered that Chameleons sound in a dusty old box in a Copenhagen attic (probably left there around 2003)and treated it to a bit of a rub down with the best sonic beeswax on the market. In fact, they’ve taken it out, reclothed it and given it a slap up lunch, if you take the contents of this record at face value. The opening two tracks off their new LP, Sacred Floor and Animal Fate are classic, Script of the Bridge cuts, brimful of that cavernous, incandescent guitar sound, and the great trippy drumming that made Oldham’s Chameleons such a brilliant and sacred earthworm.
The band seems to draw strength from everywhere that will let them. I like this plundering, it feels right and fitting. It’s a sort of smash and grab raid that only young bands should do. This sort of relentless, undiscriminating determination is sound tracked in the relentless stomp of Soft Skin. Further, the EP boasts two tracks; Bury Us and It Must Be Ahead that somehow grab The Edge’s stolid guitar lines and give them a Gothic sheen and a sort of crackling lustre; see, there’s a lot of sub-Goth, Mission/Sisters grandeur about Shiny Darkly. You can hear that in Underworlds, Eternal Chase and Frail Creature; all of which are velvet and lace soundtracks par excellence. This portentous sound, undercut with a sort of vicious menace works really well. Despite all this freeloading, they do sound very Danish; it seems every Danish singer has this martial edge to their voice, in Shiny Darkly’s case a sort of Patton-esque holler. I should also mention that the singer’s got this very affecting (and doubtless eventually very irritating) yelp, but for now it’s hitting all the buttons. The best tracks are the LP’s and EP’s title tracks (Dead Stars also turns up on the LP), which are astonishing, cod-pompous guitar blitzes that take their time in laying down the law.
I’m not sure just how long I’ll play this but for now I’m enjoying the rush of this musical tardis.
*Their earlier EP, is ok but a bit flat sounding compared to the assult of the new releases