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H.M.S. Fable
Format: Audio CDChange
Price:£12.98+£1.26shipping
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 18 June 2008
Er, I bought this album yesterday in Morley, for £1 from a charity shop, and it's easily the greatest bargain I have ever picked up!!!!!!!! Sublime!!!!!!!! It's an album that I remember being released and getting great reviews. Part of me wants to go back to the charity shop and give them another £9, but, I have given this shop absolutely tons of stuff in the past including a massive box of ALL of my albums that were on cassette, so I'm guessing that good karma has made a visit to me!! Top stuff. Beautiful melodies, and with just enough psychedelia chucked in for good measure!!!!!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 22 January 2000
I like to think that I am up with what's new in music, yet the first time I heard of Shack was when their latest album HMS Fable was voted fifth best album in the Select end-of-year review. It proceeded to appear in the top five also in the NME and Uncut magazine. On that basis, I went out and bought it. It surpassed even my expectations based on the reviews. It is quite easily the best album of last year, with no track being anything short of excellent. The last track 'Daniella' is so beautiful, it makes you want to cry every time you hear it. The sheer emotion this album provokes is testament to its brilliance. I advise anyone who appreciates music to buy this album. It may take a few listens to get into, but once you do, you won't stop playing it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 1 February 2000
From a year that was generally devoid of anything worth buying, HMS Fable shines out as an example of guitar pop craftsmanship at its best. The songs draw heavily on Michael Head's dark, drug-addled past, from which he has dredged up some of the most uplifting and affecting pop music written this decade. This is the album of 1999, bar none. All the plaudits it's been given are deserved. Drop everything and buy it now.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 17 December 2010
Shack are an English band formed in Liverpool in 1987. from the amber of the Pale Fountains. (a cult 1980s band)

No one deserves the bad luck that has dogged the Head brothers since their days in the Pale Fountains way back in the mid '80s. Tragedy after misfortune after slap in the face. Seems like Fate doesn't want them to achieve the fame they so rightly deserve.

Michael Head always has something interesting up his sleeve and these textured and fragile songs are amazingly beautiful. Great album. Shack's Waterpistol should have been the album to bury ghost of The Stone Roses once and for all. But fickle Fate contrived to delay it's release until five years later (1995). Which in music terms is like the passing of eons. But it's still a great album and is really where the Shack story begins.

If you can find the first album Zilch on vinyl hold onto it for dear life, but it's going to be tricky to locate now. In the four years leading up to the release of HMS Fable, the musical backdrop to the UK had been re-written by huge releases from the likes of The Verve, Radiohead, Massive Attack, 1999 was like a pause for breath. What would be the next big thing? Which direction would music go now? The Head brothers already had written the answers in HMS Fable, but very few people picked up on them. Looking back, it's easy to see how far ahead they were of bands like The Coral or even Elbow. Perhaps time will be kinder to this release and grant it the recognition it deserves. It's simply a crime that songs of the stature of "Natalie's Party", "Pull Together" and "Comedy" go unheard.

After I heard of this "Great Unknown", Shack, I thought that I have found again something great, which was kept dark from me too long. Yes, these brothers are talented songwriters and would have deserved bigger acclaim among music buying people.

Michael Head's odyssey continues with one of the finest albums of the 1990s. H.M.S. Fable is jangling guitar-pop of the highest quality whose music embraces a history of the Liverpool music scene. Given Head's much publicised relationship with heroin it may be some time before we see anything else from him so latch on to this wonderful album and marvel at his brilliance, just check out "Pull Together" co-written with his brother John, a song the Gallagher brothers would kill for, you will be astonished. The other songs are equally good. Enjoy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 5 July 2015
Got this as used on Amazon. Came very quickly and just as well as this is a magnificent album. I loved the Pale Fountains, and even when I was in a little garage band at the times always saw Mick Head as my generation(he's only a year older). So Shack passed me by a bit at the time. I had heard tales of Mick's drug problems and presumed we would hear no more from him.
The recent Uncut reviews on TOW and TMWOTS and backstory about the Head brothers piqued my interest. This album is a sold gold treasure. I really don't know where to start. The sheer energy and verve of the songs is mixed with a scally pathos and sensitivity i have never encountered in a record before. From Natalie's Party to Daniella I kept wondering if my ears were deceiving me!!!!
Daniella broke my heart, true melancholia. Having said that there are many uplifting and joyous elements here to . The opener, Natalie's Party and Pull Together are life affirming. Streets of Kenny, 'I don't wanna bag, i want a big one' well the new 'Cold Turkey or 'Heroin' maybe, who knows, when cares. When music is as powerful as this, Mick Head could be singing about Calpol and it would still sound emotional and chilling.
Great guitar sound on here and I love the way the vocals are layered and stacked. Now to my wife's great chagrin it's time to delve deeper into the Shack/Strands back catalogue. It promises to be quite a ride!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 18 January 2000
I really advise everyone to purchase this, even if you are thinking about buying it only a little bit. You won't be dissapointed. It's the type of album where nearly every song makes you feel good. Quick, buy it now!!!! No, quicker than that, go!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 10 August 2014
This is brilliant. I Bought this at the time and it has grown and grown with the passing of time with more and more tracks being revealed as the gems they are. I don't have anything else by Shack and liked the Pale Fountains OK but this album has nothing to do with them. It is way better than that band ever were. Top tracks Comedy, Streets of Kenny, Captains Table but really could have listed any three. It is that good.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
As a late starter on the Shack trail, I can now count myself in as a major fan.

My first purchase was On the Corner of Miles and Gil, which is a stonewall classic, but somehow this feels more cohesive and targetted. The songs are all gems, but the great thing about this record is how well it flows.

How on earth they are not played in every household in this country is quite beyond me.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 12 April 2003
Ask a friend what is their favorite album and they will invariably struggle. This is why I always ask 'what album can you listen to all the way through without skippin any tracks?'. This is simply beautiful soulful music that I love and as nme quite rightly said is 'so splendid it will make youcry.'.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 22 November 1999
This is a fantastic album from one of the most under-rated bands of the last few decades. Michael Head, chief architect of the Paleys (slang name given to The Pale Fountains), together with brother John, started the group in the 1980's. In between releasing three beautiful albums, the brothers became trapped in a life of hard drugs. So much so that the band disintegrated, and their habit continued through the emergence of new band Shack. Heroine's influence on the band was so great that they were often called Crack, or Smack...but in between those dark times they released two landmark albums. The first was Waterpistol, thought lost but recovered and released through a tiny German label. The second, known as The Magical World of The Strands was becalmed in a luminous, mysterious fog, affected by Head's years in the junkie wilderness. No surpries for what X in the song X Hits The Spot could be eh? Both widely acclaimed, both failures commercially.
So we come to this, a new album from a newly reformed and drug free Michael Head. Here is an album that is SO alive it is difficult to comprehend (I guess the closet thing was Oasis' arrogant debut Definitely Maybe, and Liam Gallagher's disdain at everyone around him). Just listen to the anthemic Pull Together, the beautiful tear-jerker Comedy, and the album's magnum opus, the drug influenced Streets Of Kenny.
Indeed, I present to you, the finest song writer to come from Liverpool/England/Great Britain/ since John Lennon. Michael Head, take a bow. Nice one.
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