Dragonfly

If indie guitar bands in 1987 wanted to sound like the band in yesterday’s post (The Motorcycle Boy) by 1991 things had moved on. A post- Madchester world had ambitions for a bigger, looser, different sound. In 1991 Shack recorded their second album Waterpistol. Mick Head was inspired by The Stone Roses, The Charlatans and Flowered Up and he was chasing that 60s psychedelic sound, acoustic and electric guitars, crossed with that early 90s groove. In an ideal world Mick’s song writing would set him apart. Unfortunately things went wrong- producer Chris Allison had difficulties getting Mick to finish songs and in late ’91 the recording studio burned down taking the master tapes with it. Shack’s record company went bust soon after. Chris Allison left the DAT tapes in a hire car while on holiday in the US. Bassist John Power joined The La’s. Mick got into heroin.

Waterpistol eventually surfaced in 1995 after Allison tracked down the hire car company and the lost DAT tapes, and a German label Marina put it out. By this point Britpop was at its height and Mick’s songs should have found an audience but despite rave reviews Mick and Shack remained mired in substance problems. In 1999 a reformed Shack released HMS Fable and began to reap a bit of what they had sewn but Waterpistol remains a lost gem. It’s been re-released a couple of times since, by different labels, with different sleeves and different numbers of tracks (mine has twelve songs, the Marina release with the smoking schoolboy on the cover). If you haven’t got it, it’s well worth tracking down- never has cosmic Scouser psychedelia been so well realised as on this album’s songs.

Dragonfly

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I Know You Well

It’s the last day of a pretty grim and depressing year if viewed through the TV news and the papers. Taking refuge in music, hiding from the storms (literally over the last few days) with the stereo playing and a drink to hand, might be hiding but it’s a decent form of escapism. This 1991 song from Shack, the great lost Liverpool band (it’s a cliche to write that but it’s true), is a beautiful gem. Scouse psychedelia with harmonies and trippy 1966 guitars but with all the benefits of a 1991 extended mix, a breakdown, 90s drums and outro. Sublime.

I Know You Well (12″ Extended)

Dad’s In The Navy So Use A Granny Knot



Liverpool’s Shack have had an up-and-down kind of existence with albums being raved over by the critics but largely ignored by the record buying public. At one point in the 90s the NME called Michael Head ‘Britain’s greatest living songwriter’ or something similar. Some of their albums have a kind of mythical status (Waterpistol for one). This song is from 2006’s The Corner Of Miles And Gil lp, and as a single peaked at number 114 in the charts. It’s a brilliant little song, lovely melody, sweetly sung, wonderful horns and catchy as anything. About bondage.