Shit Browne: Every Single Penny Will Be Reinvested in the Party


Paris-based five-piece Shit Browne may have a reason for choosing their name. Satire or humour? How else could they plumped for this particular handle? Clever though it may be for them, it is – of course – hardly a tee hee for anyone else. Presumably they don't want to be taken seriously?
On the evidence of this, their wildly perverse debut album, it’s impossible to know if they want to be taken seriously. Apparently the band members all have the second name Browne: Sebi, Benjamin, Denis, Hadrien and Tigrou. The two main men, Benjamin and Sebi, were originally from Dijon and have backgrounds in music distribution and journalism. Hadrien works as a studio engineer and soundman. Tigrou was a south-of-France DJ.
Their intent is telegraphed by an Orb-like cut titled ‘38°54’N -01°26’E - 07/06/1989’. These are the geographic coordinates for Ibiza. Presumably something momentous took place there on that 1989 date.
Ibiza, 1989: Shit Browne are the sound of the indie response to the Balearic boom with a hefty dose of Madchester. Right now, in 2010, this marks them as – well, perverse. This is not the rave-influenced pop of Klaxons, but a more template-hugging, mono-maniacal nod back over the shoulder of pop’s pre-Oasis past.
Theme song ‘Browne and Proud’ declares “learning from the Mondays, wanking on the Roses, copying the Charlatans, smoking the [Inspiral] Carpets, we invented nothing, we’re just recycling. We do what we can, no less no more.”
Two main default modes are in play: Happy Mondays married to Orb-style Balearica and a Stone Roses/Primal Scream psychedelic jangle pop. The album opens with ‘Artifice’ – clearly the right title – which borrows the loping rhythm of the Mondays’ ‘Step On’. Second cut ‘Sunflowers’ bursts in with plangent Stone Roses’ ‘Sally Cinnamon’ guitar and then drifts through a tambourine-filled jangle haze that could be an outtake from Primal Scream’s ‘Sonic Flower Groove’. ‘Betty’s Cake’ is that period Primal Scream mixed with a dose of The Pastels, even down to the wilfully drab/off-tone singing. With new vocals and a fresher production, ‘New Colours’ might have fit snugly onto the debut Stone Roses’ album. ‘Don’t Ask’ is Happy Mondays merged with the Charlatans’ groove. ‘Pills of different colours” crop up in Chairman’s lyrics, along with some heavy-duty Peter Hook bass. “Do you live in a movie?” ask the lyrics of ‘Sweetback’. If the answer is yes, then the movie is 24 Hour Party People.
Hugely enjoyable, but French people in 2010 tackling the sound of north-west England1989? Wildly perverse.
© Kieron Tyler 2010