Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The Shortwave Set are back

It’s been a while all right. It was summer 2005 when the first Shortwave Set album was released and I still remember the day I bought it. Not too difficult, considering it was 7 July 2005, and the whole of the London tube network was closed down. I got home from central London to the East End by getting a boat down the river to Greenwich. Before I hopped on the DLR to cross the river, I made a quick detour into Music and Video Exchange for a browse. There was a promo of The Debt Collection in the racks and I bought it. I had previously seen them supporting The Earlies and Sean Rowley had been caning the brilliant Is it any Wonder? on his old BBC London show.

It was a fine album, and one which I still go back to regularly. Unfortunately it didn’t sell very much, but crucially it did make its way into the possession of one Brian Burton who was at the height of new-found, Crazy-related megafame and in interviews he talked about The Shortwave Set as his new favourite band. It wasn’t all empty rhetoric though because the Greenwich band were invited to support Gnarls Barkley at some major-sized gigs.

I suppose when it came to hire a producer for their second album, the band had few thoughts other than their famous friend, who has done a very nice job. I’m going to do a review of the album – Replica Sun Machine – in a week or so, but suffice to say the word ‘ramshackle’ won’t be used about them much again. For now though, it’s all about the single No Social, which is out on new label Wall of Sound on 21 April. As comeback statements go, it’s a good one. The familiar elements are still there, but it’s tighter and more focused. More sheen, more pop, but still great. I hear the wheezing Hammond and learn that “a dog dressed in clothes is still a dog” and am very happy to have them back.

I won’t be posting No Social, but here’s a decent remix from Glasgow’s premier record spinning knob-twiddlers.

Download: The Shortwave Set – No Social (Optimo Espacio Remix)

Pre-order No Social from Norman Records.


bill p said...

I was a bit surprised by the direction of the album, especially after figuring "Casual Use" would be pointing the way. After getting over the initial shock of it's lack of danciness, it's hard not to be impressed. One of the best "albums" I've heard in a long time, though songs work on their own too. "Yesterdays to Come" is absolutely stunning.

The Daily Growl said...

Yeah, it's good stuff. It seems that Danger Mouse, unlike other similar producers (hiya Pharrell!) doesn't give the artists they produce a 'signature sound'. His work with the Black Keys as well as the Shortwave Set shows that he's pretty good at bringing out a band's strenghts and making them sound really great without taking them in a 'new direction.

stoibee said...

Rough Trade had a whole album of remixes from this wonderful but overlooked classic. Is this where you got the Optimo Espacio job from?

The Daily Growl said...

It was off one of the singles from the album. b-side to No Social I think. I got it on a promo, but I reckon it was on the 'proper' single release too.