Let me set the scene; 1996, a few too many beers and fiery balls of snot-cocaine, you forget where you are and pee into your sock, saving it to toss at a truck or something. You pass out on a flatbed trailer and wake up in your father’s yard, sun-baked and half-drunk, he’s shouting between the honks of his airhorn, “Roland! If you don’t wake up, I’ll fire!”.
The sun rising above you and the sky like a painter’s palette full of purples and pinks and yellows and blues, it’s so bright you can barely open your eyes, and you’re a little afraid that you’re about to die, “You’re 46 years old, Roland! You have your own place! Stop sleeping in my blackberry ditch!”. All that.
A comfortable anxiety like a really soft massage chair that, every seven minutes, tells you something you did wrong many years ago. Asks what you think you said today that might have been stupid, asks if you tripped and tried to cover it up by making it look like it was on purpose; but still laughs and tells you it doesn’t matter, it’s all grass. Shawn Kerr’s Coming To is the most beautiful example of dance-able anxiety that I can recall in my 69 years, and I have spent a lot of anxious hours dancing.
Coming To, the title track, sets the tone in a succinct, contrasted form, vocals surfing along a bouncing string track and constantly building bassline setting a pace for the other songs. The second track is where it really kicks me in the brain, Creature makes me want to jive around the room like an idiot. Even with it’s high energy sound the song’s messaging remains thoughtful and sincere, a soul-worn diary entry waining in hope, but you can dance to that shit. A meditative dance, because it’s okay to be thoughtful while dancing.
My father used to say I wasn’t able to listen to music, he thought it was Satan-speak and he was deeply homophobic and considered the whole art ‘gay’. I think Beneath the Surface could fool him, this song feels like a mushroom trip where nothing goes wrong. A mushroom trip where the user has some serious shit to ponder but is instead sailing among walruses and legged-sunflowers wearing hats and Catholic priests reciting Hail Mary’s in reverse. Branch and Gaps is a soft place to land after a floral, forest-based mushroom-trip. Have you been thinking about walruses? Sunflowers? Pirate ships with human faces instead of sails? Hey, that’s all okay. We’ll be okay. Put on Branch and Gaps and chill the fuck out, my dude, we will be okay.
Don’t mind the gunfire from the club down the block, or the shouting from your neighbours upstairs; Shawn Kerr’s Coming To is like some sick, brilliant bastard took 60’s psychedelia and blasted it up in a blender with today’s pop music. It’s like waking up after Woodstock 1969 in 1996 and getting shot at, it’s still really beautiful but also pretty exciting. This young man is definitely one to watch out for, and I say that as a 60% blind man who doesn’t pay much mind to watching anything.
Five Finger Guns out of a David Byrne