Infusing wit into well crafted pop songs isn’t as easy as you might think. Quite simply because you’re not that smart. Sorry mate. But it’s not all fun and games. Dry humor in pop is a delivery mechanism; kind of like ciggies and nicotine. No one in their right mind would light up a stick and start breathing in the smoke for fun. There’s a pay off. A sweet, sweet payoff. And the same goes for Shining Bird, so listen carefully if you haven’t already.
The Leisure Coast delivers another gem from Shining Bird. You Won’t Feel a Thing deals with some pretty serious issues very close to Taylor’s heart and we say bring it on.
The reason artists embrace said delivery mechanism is because of the rigid dichotomy that exists between rock and the truth. When you’re dealing with heavy subject matters but also instinctively understand the need to connect with your peers you face a challenge.
It’s hard and very few pull it off in the right way. The likes if Jens Leckman and Stephin Merritt come to mind but only superficially. Thankfully I have a penchant for this kind of songwriting especially when it’s delivered by a baritone (or do I mean tenor? anyway I mean that low and gravelly thing).
Shining Bird’s latest offering, You Won’t Feel a Thing, is a homage to mother earth wrapped in a David Attenborough meets Barton Fink (Cohen Brothers) style video. Technically they’ve stayed relatively true to the home made 1989 aesthetic we all remembered we loved thanks to their breakthrough single Distant Dreaming.
Thematically it’s also very close and I get the feeling that Taylor’s songwriting is going to continue to challenge us as he gets closer to the core truths he’s trying to reveal. I say bring it on.
The song never quite resolves, not unlike the challenges it’s trying to tackle and embodies a deep sadness that I suspect we’ll be hearing more of from the band as their catalogue grows. There’s a lot to be pissed off about in the world and Australia has a lot to answer for. But as long as there are voices insisting on being heard they will find ears to worm their way into.
You can love a band and then sometimes you can also feel a deep heart wrenching connection because they feel like family, they understand you, your pain, your challenges, hopes and dreams. An extension of your psychic wavelength, as though they resonate on your frequency. Tackling issues that relate to Australian politics, the treatment of our indigenous peoples and mother nature in general seems to be a core theme for Taylor and we could sure as hell use more artists like him.
Our epic Shining Bird illustration is by Tim Andrew, a Sydney based artist who created this piece for us back in September of 2013. His work has been published in Australian and international art and design periodicals, and has recently exhibited work in Hong Kong, Melbourne and Sydney. For more info, visit timandrewart.com