It’s Monday afternoon and I’m sat in a stuffy room staring out the window as a magpie mocks me from its position of freedom. From this viewpoint I’m in the perfect place to witness the diversity of natural beauty juxtaposed with the man made blandness of bricks and mortar. Its almost as if the music that’s been repeating in my headphones for the past 30 minutes has heightened my senses in the way that I’ve only ever known drugs or meditation do in the past.
The music in question is ‘Peculiar Pastimes’ the new single from Dead Shed Jokers and I’ve already rewritten the first two paragraphs three times as I struggle to make sense of what I’m hearing. The first time I played it I instantly dismissed it as some bizarre Arctic Monkeys B-side but then by the second time I ‘get it’ only to lose it again when I play it for the third.
This yo-yoing continued for 15 minutes as I tried to break the song down into it’s component parts desperately trying to form some kind of objective opinion. Then something happened; I stopped listening to the song instead listening with the song as it took me on it’s own little journey.
My mind wanders away from my computer screen to the world outside my window. On the street below workmen smoke fags and banter while a young labourer digs a hole. Lorries and buses hiss as they stop in traffic, people scutter like drones. Above the sun is shining, the sky is a mixture of pale blue and dark grey clouds, birds circle and chatter as bees search for valuable nectar. Amongst urban decay the whole rat race we call modern life was on display as nature’s critters went about a more visceral battle of survival. All the while ‘Peculiar Pastimes’ is there in the background drawing me further and further down the rabbit hole.
I’m so transfixed in this daydream it takes a nudge from a colleague to snap back into my normal perception of reality, but the break in concentration did me good. Pushing past the intense wall of sound that hits you from 20 seconds in I’m hearing ‘Queens Of The Stone Age’ riffs, ‘Bloc Party’ songsmithery, ‘The Cooper Temple Clause’ atmospherics and the irreverence of ‘The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion’. There’s still an underlining hum of ‘Arctic Monkeys’ in the delivery but the substance of the song is much deeper.
It may take a while to ‘get’ this song but when you do it becomes hypnotically enticing. Dead Shed Jokers have produced a post-modern psychedelic rock song that’s energetic and densely layered. And while I’m not sure if the process of listening to it has exercised my grey matter or zapped my brain cells out of existence, it has certainly left an impression. Like it or loath it, I’m more confused than I was when I started.
Dead Shed Jokers are:
Hywel – Voice
Nicky and Kris – Guitars
Luke – Bass
Ashley – Drums
‘Peculiar Pastimes’ was released 5th August.
Check out the video