Dead Shed Jokers - Dead Shed Jokers
Kat: Dead Shed Jokers confuse the senses, baffle the eardrums and generally have fun amongst the confusion and chaos they themselves create. The Welsh band – a nation home to sheep, cheese and the longest place name in existence of course - release their self-titled offering here with an attention grabbing diversity through a myriad of styles which make them difficult to pin down.
Phil: Although a band with an eccentric and vast plumage, the most prominent feathers, which go some way to define the band’s unique musical approach, are emblazoned with the colours of stoner rock grit and theatrical glitter. It’s an oddball combination that will, for many upon first listen, bewilder you into a state where that uniqueness is distasteful, but those on the flipside will find a great deal of charm in its wackiness. A CautionaryTale for instance bellows out like if Andrew Lloyd Webber had rolled a fat one before penning the score for his latest drama pocked musical.
Kat: It’s one of the record’s more progressive offerings, with a dense yet jaunty instrumentation which is at this point fast becoming another signature of the quartet. Gentle coaxing begins the track before the taut sinews are flexed producing a theatrical display of thunderous rock and roll. The continuing theme of medieval and folksy fuelled backing flavoured with hefty guitar and drum work is evident throughout.
Dafydd’s Song kicks off in style with a slow shuffling, heavy guitar tinged with plenty of swagger. A wall of fiery grooves and imposing beats pound the senses, uncurling in the synapses to fire the imagination. The vocals; boasting more drama than an episode of EastEnders, and at points operatic in production, are delivered superbly.
Memoirs of Mr Bryant is slightly different, daubed in blues with soul pumping energy it is one track designed to tease the senses with a crazed power and hints of lunacy. It scorches a path for the ferocious Made In Vietnam; an insane amalgamation of rugged assault and sultry seduction. A mind fuck of a fusion of stoner, hard and blues rock makes it a stand out track.
Love Is Diseased both recedes and surges in intensity. The grooves, the riffs, the symphonic vocals - completed here with soulful female vocals – and the upswings of energy just works even when it probably shouldn’t.
Phil: Most importantly, there is a great effort made here to capture the energy and passion of their live shows, where musical technicality lurch alongside big grooves. On stage, it’s not so much of a matter of vocalist Hywel Davies being the centre of their gravity, rather, it’s the stories of their songs which hold their own and in that sense Dead She Jokers opens its pages to a twisted fairy tale that leads you down a cleverly constructed path from the off.
Albums need to keep your attention and this is a record with a pleasing amount of flow. They distribute the punchy peaks and shadowy troughs across the record’s unravelling plot perfectly; Dadydd’s Song a blockbuster opening and Delay The Morning the twisted soliloquy that follows. It all leads up to the final chapters of Raptures And Riddles – where the dramatics of Jethro Tull and hysteria of Muse collide, the resulting wreckage a fine spectacle – and Exit Stage Left which rolls the credits and takes a bow.
Kat: A vocal and piano led affair, Exit Stage Left provides a stunning finale which adds another twist to the rollercoaster that is this album. From relative calm there emerges a fierce edge towards the end guaranteed to ensure one can never make assumptions about their writing style.
Phil: The stage, I feel, is their true home; a place they can really ignite and flaunt that baffling but entertaining plumage of theirs. But they’ve produced an album chock full of everything that the band throw into their creative melting pot which, while may alienate a few because of how far from the ‘norm’ it strays at points, has plenty of kicks along the way.
Dead Shed Jokers have produced a phenomenally good album here; in terms of creativity, danger and rock and roll bravery they are front runners for the “we do what we do and if you don’t like it so be it” award. Ones to watch I would urge you to keep listening and give them a chance.
Words: Phil Weller & Kat Hilton