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IN Covers: Shame Thugs cover Norman Oak
Posted August 24, 2015 by Taylor Peters
WRITTEN BY
Taylor Peters
ON
August 24, 2015

 

Time is not a fluid thing so it's not exactly possible, but were it possible to reverse things just 24 hours or so, sit me down, and level a couple of questions at me, I've got a reasonable angle on at least a few of what my answers would've been to some very specific questions. To "when are you planning to go to bed?" I would've responded "9:30 at the latest." To "what have you eaten so far today," I would've said, "too much cheese." And, if you'd have looked me straight in the eye and asked "what is the one pairing you're hoping IN Covers will rock out next," I'd say odds on I would've said Norman Oak and Shame Thugs. It's all almost too good to be true, I tell ya.

 

Right, right, right, all things considered they don't sound all that similar. Norman Oak is on that creep folk tip most of the time, and Shame Thugs beam in from outer space on a glittering highway of tape hiss, drum machines, and wafting smoke. But: there's something in the way both of them come at a particular sort of musical minimalism. I called it "mantric inertia" in my review of Ancient Friends, and even though that was eight months ago, I'm sticking with it. Both of them have a way of taking a musical moment and stretching and twisting it through sheer presence, and that's precisely what I'm hearing on "Cracker Song."

 

Norman Oak's original comes from 2007's A Double Gift of Tongues, and it doesn't seem like it's available to stream online so you're going to have to take everyone's word. The thugs, though, take the steady march of a kick and a snare, ground it with bass warble, and ring it all up with a vocal tincture set up in slapback verb just enough to rattle it out of repetition. As it comes "Cracker Song" is a walled garden of a musical moment. Sure, it stretches almost five minutes, but what it feels like, what it conveys, is an individual second, or, more accurately, an individual phrase, plumbed all the way down.

 

Series mastermind, Sharlene Birdsong, is yet again with the lovely capture. The gauze is fitted just right, setting the fuzz in place, and letting the shiny stuff glisten through. Stay tuned for more. There's always more.

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