As Leonardo Pavkovic tongue-in-cheekily puts it, feel free to pronounce this ensemble's sobriquet as 'Shotgun' if that suits ya…but the word's actually 'Shitgun', as this sextet of cheeky young Belgians has what Leo also portrays as 'lightly disturbed minds', a very essential ingredient, to my mind, for the kind of heavy, proggy, outside jazzy potpourri they serve up on sizzling platters. Sh.tg.n's a trifle unusual even for a label like MoonJune, so if I say it might've been more expected on Century Media or Inside / Out, that's only to compliment all three for their kindred tastes and to point out that what were once strictly headbanging enterprises (CM and its subsidiaries, then Metal Blade and etc.) have come around to meet prog halfway. Everyone's much better off for it.
So, yeah, you get a lot of amped-up guitar and power chords here but also Zappa (when was the last time you heard xylophone as a constant adjunct in headbangery?), Art Bears, old Italian 70s sounds, some art damage (Keneally), and whatever the hell crossed these talented bastards' minds while on the fly (which they're rarely not). A nice dose of noisery, too. Though the manneredly lurid cover art seems to indicate a Rasputina type of enterprise, that worthy group would have a heart attack in attempting Sh.tg.n's pressure-cooker tack. Singer-keyboardist Antoine Guenet is nominally the front guy, but everyone crashes through every possible border at all times, the result of which is often that of an artful riot rather then the standard front-man/backing-band affair. As I say, more than a little Century Media here but also stuff even CM hasn't tripped out to yet.
When I listen to fellow Boomers bitch and moan about younger generations, sounding all too much like our asshole fathers' generation, I just smirk and guffaw. The treasonous truth is that while there may presently be no King Crimsons or Frank Zappas on the horizon, that doesn't matter too damn much. On whole, succeeding generations are actually kicking the shit out of us, and that's a very good thing indeed. We provided the mode and motive in the 60s and 70s, and, once one stops sucking at the teat of the mainstream, the array of musics being produced now in all genres, but below the radar, is astounding. Sh.tg.n is one such band, and I could easily name hundreds more. I couldn't have done that in the 70s. So, a note to my esteemed hypocritical crit "comrades": keep your fucking mouths shut, open your ears, grow.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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