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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jaw droppingly good!
I'm a new convert to Shack, after reading a recommendation of their music in the footnotes of EW Macclesfield's excellent book "In Search of the La's". Intrigued by HMS Fable I proceeded to Waterpistol and that was that! I had to obtain as much as possible. This album, for me, rivals Waterpistol. It is a contender for album of the decade. Abslutely gorgeous,...
Published on 14 Mar. 2008 by the cubist

versus
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Highs and Lows
This album can be summed up pretty quickly for me:

Michael Head is a genius songwriter but his brother John should stick to playing guitar and leave the songwriting to Michael. This album is worth buying for the Michael Head compositions, which range from good to sublime. Unfortunately John Head contributes 4 or 5 songs here and they are largely drivel...
Published on 19 July 2008 by Nigel Waspfinger


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jaw droppingly good!, 14 Mar. 2008
This review is from: The Corner Of Miles And Gil (Audio CD)
I'm a new convert to Shack, after reading a recommendation of their music in the footnotes of EW Macclesfield's excellent book "In Search of the La's". Intrigued by HMS Fable I proceeded to Waterpistol and that was that! I had to obtain as much as possible. This album, for me, rivals Waterpistol. It is a contender for album of the decade. Abslutely gorgeous, righteous music, quite staggeringly brilliant. I listened to it on headphones last night and when it was finished I was absolutely shell shocked by its quality. The Head's are just getting better and better. Stunning. Buy this album and send some cash their way. You'll wonder how it was that you were able to exist without it - it's THAT GOOD.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The return of the great band they call Shack, 15 May 2006
By 
Jason Parkes "We're all Frankies'" (Worcester, UK) - See all my reviews
(No. 1 Hall OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Corner Of Miles And Gil (Audio CD)
Despite the fact Oasis are now an extremely dull brand/tribute to themselves ten years ago, Noel Gallagher is a man of great taste - a shame it doesn't come out in Oasis records! Gallagher has put out Shack's follow-up to 2003's 'Here's Tom with the Weather', banishing thoughts suggested by previous Sour Mash releases like the record by Proud Mary (a band so awful Jet seemed like a good idea!). The story of the Head Brothers, their recordings as Shack, The Pale Fountains & various side-projects (e.g. 'Michael Head and the Magical World of the Strands') would make a great book - one of those car-crashy voyeuristic things. Heck, maybe a 'Dig!' style documentary, for it seems that like the Brian Jonestown Massacre they've been consistently brilliant despite a mass of "problems" and yet they remain so under-appreciated. It's safe to say 'Waterpistol' is still the one, a record that piddles over 'The LA's' and 'The Stone Roses' - 'The Corner of Miles and Gil' sounds assured, despite the gossipy rumours of addiction and rehab - it sounds fairly classic and on just a few listens seems better than 'Here's Tom...' or 'HMS Fable.'

As some listeners are aware, in Liverpool they appear to have Arthur Lee on tap - bands like The Teardrop Explodes, Echo & the Bunnymen, The Wild Swans, The LA's, The Coral & the Zutons all nodding the way of Love. Shack are key in this too, the brass arrangements here recalling the wonder of 'Forever Changes' material like 'You Set the Scene.' Despite the fact Michael Head is rumoured to have problems, this doesn't dampen the songwriting here or the great brass arrangments by former Teardrop Explodes associate Yorkie (who also worked with Dalek I Love You & Space) and former Fall-drummer Simon Wolstencroft (who backed Mark E Smith in a great decade).

In some ways '...The Corner of Miles and Gil' is a typical Shack record - gorgeous jangling guitars, killer hooks and soulful lyrics. In another, it's something of a departure with allusions to Miles Davis and Gil Evans - 'Butterfly' advances on the wonder of prior Shack songs, the kind of classic song found on 'Waterpistol' but with a transcendental urgency that Dylan had in the mid-60s and Mike Scott was on around 'Fisherman's Blues.' 'Shelley Brown' counterbalances a fragile acoustic driven ballad with subtle jazz reminiscent of 'ESP/Sketches of Spain/Kind of Blue'-Miles, while 'New Day' is another sublime acoustic moment as pure as the work of Daniel Johnston. 'Miles Away' sounds like a Liverpudlian relation of Lambchop, the brass arrangement seems close to the 'Chop's work on the classic 'Nixon' - which suggests the band called Shack might get some action in the U.S. of A.

There are some curious songs, the ode to L.S.D. that is 'Cup of Tea' (a nod to that quote from McCartney on dope) and the bizarrely titled 'Finn, Sophie, Bobby and Lance' - an ode to characters from the early years of Aussie-soap 'Home and Away' of all things! That title alone reminds me of lazy days when I should have been at college or work, the music feels darker - kind of a glum Jayhawks-feel (the acoustics reminded me of Pink Floyd's 'Goodbye Blue Sky' of all things!) and there's a great sample from the Australian whatdunnit 'Picnic at Hanging Rock.' This song maybe nods to the loss of youth, the characters from a cherished soap vanishing into the air...

I've listened to this once and am convinced of its greatness - this record deserves so much acclaim and success and seems packed full of potential singles. 'Moonshine' sounds like 'Out of Time/Automatic'-REM, but with SOUL!!!!! - John Head's brass arrangment as fantastic as some of Sean O'Hagan's work with Stereolab and Super Furry Animals. This record gives me the feeling that 'Revolver' did the first times I heard it, heck '...The Corner of Miles and Gil' is the 'Revolver' of the zeroes! 'Funny Things' reminds you how much the Coral were influenced by Shack and co - the fluid guitar from John Head sounds great set to the jazzy feel that quotes directly from Miles' 'Kind of Blue' As great as the rock that Byrds made inspired by Coltrane...

The album goes out on a high (...probably not an apt phrase, but still...) with John Head's 'Find a Place' which reminds me a bit of Tim Buckley and Michael Head's wonderous 'Closer', as bleak and beautiful as anything on Sunhouse's lost joy 'Crazy on the Weekend' & seems as meticulous as anything on Jim O'Rourke's 'Eureka.' This album is a great achievement and definitely one of my contenders for album of the year - I usually have an aversion to anything indie or jangly as I like to tease my default setting that way...but what a record! What are you waiting for?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another wonderful album from Shack, 25 Mar. 2009
This review is from: The Corner Of Miles And Gil (Audio CD)
I'm trying to decide if this is my favourite Shack album. Every record they've brought out since 1995's 'Waterpistol' (they were known as the Pale Fountains before that) has been terrific, and that includes 1998's side project 'The Magical World of the Strands'. This album is a very slight departure for Shack, with less of the jangly guitar pop they're famed for and more laid back, jazzy arrangements - horns, strings and such. Hence the title which is an obvious reference to Miles Davis and Gil Evans.

There are some great songs ('Shelley Brown' with its lilting Davis-esque horn touches is one of their finest moments ever) and Mick Head's lyrics are, as ever, simple but unusual, and surprisingly poetic. 'Tie Me Down' is a gentle love song with references to, er, bondage, whose lyrical strangeness doesn't detract from its beauty. 'Finn, Sophie, Bobby & Lance' namechecks characters from Aussie soap Home And Away and has that grounded-in-the-everyday yet head in the clouds feel that so many of Mick's songs do. Elsewhere, there is talk of 'curries with the Queen' and cups of tea laced with LSD.

As always, Shack pay a huge debt to artists like Love, Nick Drake and The Beatles, yet somehow manage to sound distinctly like Shack. As with their other records, there are bursts of acid-rock guitar and soaring harmonies alongside the strummy, jangly stuff. Basically, if you loved Shack's other albums, you'll love this - though if you're looking for your first taste of Shack, I'd also recommend 'Waterpistol' and 'The Magical World of Strands'.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as The Strands, 1 Jun. 2006
This review is from: The Corner Of Miles And Gil (Audio CD)
Michael & John Head's greatest record, and one of my favourite albums ever, was 'The Magical World of the Strands'. Shack always seemed to me to lag behind this sublime record, despite being to all intents and purposes the same band.

I own most of the Head brothers' albums and am never disappointed by them, but am often frustrated that they just don't quite seem able to recapture their former glory. '...The Corner of Miles and Gil' is no exception but unlike the, frankly, rollicking 'HMS Fable', this album has a sweeter and more soulful heart. It dispenses with that album's brash, radio-friendly pop and replaces it with (as the title suggests) a jazzier songcraft whilst retaining the trademark nods to influences such as The Beatles and Love.

Compared to 'The Strands' and even 'Waterpistol' this record is somewhat lacking in substance, but compared to the swathe of new acts blighting the alternative airwaves it is still the sound of a band who truly know how to create great songs when they try. In the context of pop music generally it's grade 'A', but it's only grade 'B' Head brothers.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Head and shoulders above, 20 Jun. 2006
By 
R. Fox - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Corner Of Miles And Gil (Audio CD)
Shack stand head and shoulders above contermporary music in this country, proven once again on this album. Some long time Shack fans have been disappointed with this album, but not me. It's not perfect, very few records are, but it was too good for a 4 so...

If you've never heard Shack, just buy any Shack album (or even better the Magical World of the Strands), play it, then go out and buy all the others, then get the Pale Fountains stuff while you're at it.

If you've heard Shack, this is perhaps their most diverse stylistically yet. John's songwriting is to the fore, with 4 outstanding songs on the album, each very different, and Mick contributes his usual high standard of songwriting.

Whereas most Shack albums have a few truly outstanding songs and a batch of excellent ones, with a few that fall below the standard slightly, to my ears this is perhaps their most consistent. Individually, only one or two come close to their very best songs, but as an album it is consistently excellent, which is the norm for Shack, but leaves it several echelons above the best guitar based pop and rock outfits around at the moment.

If you're familiar with Shack, you'll know what they are capable of, if you're not get ready to file them alongside the likes of Love and other genuinely classic bands of this or any era.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For the, 20 May 2006
This review is from: The Corner Of Miles And Gil (Audio CD)
What i would like to say is that i saw Shack live in Glasgow last night and it was a beautiful , magical experience and an evening that will live long in the memory. Simply one of the best concerts i've ever seen (and as a 40 year old gig goer of 26 years i've seen a few !)This band are just truly special and i had a great big grin on my face all the way through and a tear in my eye at the end when they played Comedy. Long may they create such majestic alchemy ! Oh and by the way , this albun is without a doubt the Album Of The Year , i can't see anyone coming close to it so help the lads out and buy a copy followed by HMS Fable , Waterpistol , Here's Tom..... and the Strands album.You'll be in musical Heaven.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Highs and Lows, 19 July 2008
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This review is from: The Corner Of Miles And Gil (Audio CD)
This album can be summed up pretty quickly for me:

Michael Head is a genius songwriter but his brother John should stick to playing guitar and leave the songwriting to Michael. This album is worth buying for the Michael Head compositions, which range from good to sublime. Unfortunately John Head contributes 4 or 5 songs here and they are largely drivel.

If you're new to Shack, you should start with Waterpistol, a near flawless album. A true masterpiece. Avoid HMS Fable which is pretty dreadful.
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6 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At last!!, 30 April 2006
This review is from: The Corner Of Miles And Gil (Audio CD)
Shack...where do I start? Almost forgotten in the 90's and after a terrible run of bad luck (read press) had critical success with previous 2 albums.

Mick Head is a songwriter of amazing talent and in another life they would be legends. They are in mine.

If you like good songwriting and fantastic melodies look no further.

Apparently the 2 brothers are writing a new Strands LP. Great 2 Christmas's this year.

I haven't heard any of the album but I don't need to.

Shack - I salute you.
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