Thing of the Day
June 2nd 2011
SHANEOLINSKI – Getting Closer, Retaining The Soul By Numbers. (Tontena) - The eccentric smell of very English foxes and other strange tales via innocently fractured tunes. Delightful tunes, songs from the woods, whimsical, and you you you and I smell a fox, she’s my addiction…
A lazy reviewer would almost instantly be tempted to mention Syd Barrett and have no option other than to bring up the name of one William D. Drake. We, however, don’t stand for any notions of laziness around here, and we’d never resort to names of others as easy shortcuts and signposts... This is a collection of songs very much alive with a slightly oft-kilter Englishness that does so remind us of one Mr Drake (and cups of tea) and maybe Miss Roberts (she of Rude Mechanicals) ...or an English Daniel Johnson, maybe?
The work of a “reclusive musical maverick”, possibly unknown to those outside his home area, his music could be seen as a ridiculous paradox if it wasn’t such an eccentric delight. For this really is either strangely or delightfully eccentric depending on your mind-space at the time. Shane O’Connor, alias Shaneolinski (don’t ask us to explain why, we don’t know, ours is not to reason) has apparently wielded an unstoppable influence on numerous Norwich bands and such with his many recordings made between 1981 and the present day. Seems that until now most of his work has only be available in small runs of DIY releases, cassettes, compilations etc; seems that now Shaneolinski “has momentously created a psychedelic pop extravaganza” and that extravaganza takes the form of a seventeen track collection of songs picked from a vault of many hundreds.
Experimental lo-fi English psychedelia is what we have - very much the feel and song construction of those two classic Syd Barrett solo albums. OK, these songs are maybe a little more rounded and ‘complete’ than Syd’s much loved, perfectly recorded treasures, but posess that glorious sketchbook innocence and feel of just doing it in that one just right moment. There are songs here that are delightfully eccentric, there are others that that are just plain strange and maybe just a touch too much in terms of psychedelic fracture, a song or two that maybe falls of the fence and cracks one too many eggs? But mostly this collection is an eccentric English delight: simple songs alive with little details, with cat meows, with wallflowers, strange keyboard twists, sunny guitar bits, bright breezy board games, real life chess and what else to do? Peasants and pheasants and treason and… what else could he do? He’s like a ragged trouser philanthropist and oh, where to go? Normal pots of tea that make so much sense, but tea must have seemed quite weird once before everyone knew what tea was?
Weird songs that sound so normal in a particularly peculiar way, peculiar but we like them, like we like cups of tea or wallflowers or English foxes … A slightly hatstand maverick genius from somewhere near Norwich with a whole load of strangely normal quite peculiar songs, then. Some a little too far off-hinge into psychedelic nonsense land, but most of the songs a beguiling set of eccentric English delights… Delightfully one-off.