by Helen Todner
The last ever single from Shrag ‘On The Spines Of Old Cathedrals’ will be released on 11th February ahead of their last ever live performance. Having been together for ten years the band had this to say about their departure from the industry:
“Kind-hearted and recklessly indulgent indie promoters up and down the country will be relieved to learn that Shrag have decided to call it a day. We’re old, we’ve done this band for nearly TEN YEARS, and we finally made a record that we are uniformly proud of, so enough’s enough! Press releases weren’t our strong point in the beginning when we started in Brighton in the spring of 2003. We attempted to show what could be done in the music industry without any press, booking agent, or manager (and we showed that you could achieve almost nothing without them). In any case, we just wanted to say thank you to the many, many people who have helped the band to do the things we have done, most if not all of would have seemed laughably impossible to us when we started out. We had very lo-fi beginnings and ambitions and our first album sounded like it was made by teenagers (although we really weren’t). Around 2008 something weird happened and we were collectively afflicted by delusions of grandeur and we went on a quest for a perfect pop album. We don’t know if we got there, but it’s been a whole lot of fun trying. Favourite review of all time was the one where the writer said our mere existence made them ‘ashamed to be British’. We’ve disgraced ourselves in front of the whole of Leamington Spa and haemorrhaged thousands of pounds going on what were basically extended holidays to the USA whilst kidding ourselves that we were ‘on tour’. But somehow, we managed to produce three albums that some people quite like. We are proud of ourselves and not sorry for ourselves. We are ending because we didn’t think we could get through another two year process of making an album. But we are ending for the same reasons we began, because it feels right, and because we are friends. Big love to John Jervis of WIAIWYA, Sean Price of Fortuna POP!, and COUNTLESS other bands/promoters/friends who have helped us and enabled us to do this weird band for so long. You definitely know who you are!”
From the very first opening chords you’re thrown back in time to the 80’s with images big hair, shoulder pads that could take flight, and some of the best electro funk punk that has ever been made. I’m a huge fan of 80’s music because it was an era of experimentation and song lyrics actually had something to say (I’m not talking Jason and Kyle here). I’m thinking along the lines of Duran Duran, The Cure, and even though they came a little later The Pet Shop Boys, music that mattered and bands with depth and that is what Shrag have in bucket loads. From the synthesised electro drum beats and guitars to the complex overlaid lyrical harmonies this is a song for the modern times but with its roots firmly placed in the past. It’s edgy in places, choral in others, and is one of those songs you want to listen to again and again. It really is a shame that this will be their last release but they have left on a high and with fans new and old undoubtedly shouting for more.
If you want to see their last ever gig it will be at The Lexington on March 15th with special guests Comet Gain, Chips For The Poor, and Scared To Dance DJ’s.