1990 : SHACK - NME, 18 AUGUST

“It’s a great song for what’s happening now. I’m finally getting into the idea that I’m a songwriter. We want to be successful, and this is a good stab towards selling loads of albums.”

This is what singer/songwriter Mick Head has to say about I Know You Well, the first release in two years from Liverpool’s very excellent Shack. Mick is specifically responding to charges that I Know You Well plays rather deliberately towards the ahem, baggier sectors of the record buying public.

“I like The Stone Roses, Flowered Up and The Charlatans. Bands like that wouldn’t have happened in 1982,” says Head, a man with an eight year history in pop which started with The Pale Fountains, an outfit once groomed by Virgin as the scruffy-cute heirs to the Haircut 100 New Pop throne. “No, Flowered Up or Happy Mondays would’ve been too ugly back in 1982. But there’s a certain beauty in ugliness now. Shaun Ryder’s like Jagger in that respect.”

Shack’s 1988 debut LP Zilch was a gloriously melodic affair, utilising lush arrangements to prod home some dour points about the state of the nation and economic gloom, making particular reference to Mick’s native Merseyside. Lyrically, Head’s new material will be less precise, and less serious.

“The stuff I’m working on now is far more humourous. When my dad heard the last album, he said ‘What the fuck are you writing protest songs for?’ He thought I was trying to be the new Bob Dylan, you know – he hammered me for ages after that!”

“The new LP’s gonna have better stories on it. It’s a great challenge to put a story into a three-minute pop song. It’ll still be very melodic, though, but with a more straight guitary vibe than before. It’s gonna be a great album when it’s finished.”

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Zilch (1988)
1. Emergency (listen)
2. Someone’s Knocking (listen)
3. John Kline (listen)
4. I Need You (listen)
5. Realization (listen)
6. High Rise Low Life (listen)
7. Who Killed Clayton Square? (listen)
8. Who’d Believe It? (listen)
9. What’s It Like… (listen)
10. The Believers (listen)