…From Across the Kitchen Table (1985)

Shelter
Stole The Love
Bicycle Thieves
Limit
Jean’s Not Happening
27 Ways To Get Back Home
…From Across The Kitchen Table
Bruised Arcade
It’s Only Hard
September Sting
Hey
These Are The Things

 

…FROM ACROSS THE KITCHEN TABLE, FROM JAKE SHILLINGFORD’S ALL-TIME TOP TEN, MELODY MAKER, MARCH 1997

Why the hell didn’t they make it? It was all going so well. They had everything – a massive record deal, loads of money behind them, critical acclaim, they were all gorgeous.

They ended being Arthur Lee’s (From Love) backing band. He was their ultimate hero, so perhaps they didn’t do too badly. Where the Bunnymen lyrics were very obscure, The Pale Fountains were more direct and honest about what they were saying. When they became Shack, they wrote a song called High Rise Low Life, which is a fucking great title.

 

…FROM ACROSS THE KITCHEN TABLE (ALBUM), NME, 9 FEBRUARY 1985

Ever since their megaquid signing to Branson Transatlantic Hamburger Records, the Pale Fountains’ vinyl existence has been a chameleonic search for identity. Kitchen Table, their second LP, finds them no nearer a unique PF sound, but, in spite or because of their continuing restless confusion, it contains their best moments to date.

Casting off their previous jazzy fringes, The Fountains, in the person of writer/guitarist Michael Head, have grasped the (probably illusory) minor key means real songwriting dictum nettle currently doing the rounds. To that end the Fountain Head has penned 12 personal, literate and wordy (the receipt, consumption, joy and danger of books is a constantly recurring motif) songs.

The slew of language needs room to breathe so they’re placed with new-baby tenderness into spacey, semi-acoustic settings. Producer Ian Broudie (check his Bunneymixes and Care fare) is a past master of this. His patented, onomatapoeic, six-string splashes are the summer-rain millieu of this record.

Where Head and Broudie’s brainwaves arrive in phase, on the 45 Jean’s Not Happening (scandalously abused by some dolt in a recent Singles page), the broody garage rap Bicycle Thieves or the bouncy protopop of These are the Things, we’re treated to very fine pop in the modern, non-electro vein. Even the less high flying efforts are inofensive, if derivative, cruises.

So, for all the plusses, and there are strengths here, Kitchen Table is not unlike passionless sex; good while it lasts, to be valued and tried again certainly, but – no, the earth doesn’t really move.

INFORMATION

Established in 1998, Shacknet is an independent website dedicated to the music of Shack & The Pale Fountains.

The website is entirely funded by the generosity of its subscribers.

If you've got any information, cuttings, photos, films, recordings then we'd love to hear from you.

Shacknet also has a Facebook group. You can sign up here.
 
 

LISTEN TO SHACK

 

 

 

 

 
 
 

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)