Shack Is Back

I first heard about Liverpudlian pop-folkies Shack in ’99 when H.M.S. Fable (iTunes) was making waves across the pond. I found the album rather uneven, but still can’t get “Streets Of Kenny” out of my head.

The band originally formed as Pale Fountains back in ’86 by Mick and John Head, but failed to attract any press attention. The brothers’ subsquent albums as Shack met the same fate (due to label apathy), and they went so far as to rebrand themselves the Strands. When Shack’s supposed comeback CD H.M.S. failed to make a splash stateside I thought I’d never hear from them again. And — bad Scott! — I never did pick up 2003’s Here’s Tom With The Weather.

Fortunately, Shack has a brand new CD, the cleverly titled The Corner Of Miles & Gil, and I’m digging their return to form, complete with orchestral flourishes. It’ll be released on Noel Gallagher’s Sourmash label, and the group is currently touring their homeland, but no word (yet) on a domestic release. Stereogum’s got an exclusive preview for you:
Shack – “Butterfly” (MP3 Link Expired)

There are three other tracks streaming on MySpace.

BUT before you visit Miles & Gil Streets, please first download this cut from 1991’s Waterpistol. It’s absolutely lovely and was a staple on my mix CDs during my college years. Haven’t met many Shack fans in my life so I hope some of you lurk in Stereogum sphere.

Shack – “Undecided” (MP3 Link Expired)

And there’s a great story behind the music. Via All Music.

“The genesis of Waterpistol is one of the most convoluted in all of indie pop, and it’s one of the genre’s most legendary stories. The album was recorded in 1991, but the master tapes were destroyed when the studio caught fire. All was not lost, however, as producer Chris Allison had made a DAT safety copy before he left for an American vacation. Unfortunately, not knowing about the fire, Allison inadvertently left his DAT in his rental car. Amazingly, he was able to track it down with the help of the car rental company, but given that Shack’s record company had gone under and the band had split up in the interim, the album didn’t come out until the German label Marina Records rescued it in 1995.”

“Undecided”: The best wistful ballad the La’s never wrote. Lemme know what you think.