Make Me Butterfly (self released)
~reviewed by Stuart Moses
Growing up in a small town can be stifling for those whose expectations extend further than alcohol, takeaways and reality TV programmes. I’ve never been to Hitchin in Hertforshire, nor do I have any great desire to, but I feel the world is a better place for groups like Shard who are offering an alternative to normality to everyone who lives in this town and ones like it everywhere.
The five-piece make a glorious glam indie racket. It’s easy to imagine that only hearing the music does not give the full Shard experience. Just looking at the photo on the CD suggests a serious amount of make-up and hair spray is used by the band every time they leave the house. Like early Manic Street Preachers, Shard have a strong line in peacock imagery and rebellious rhetoric. Opening song “Make Me Butterfly” has a strong glam-guitar line and singer Laurence gives his all. There’s a good use of dynamics, especially at the minute and a half mark. Elsewhere a cheesy synth sound adds to the excitement.
“Die Happy Picnic” gives us an updated glam sound, with a heavy dose of electronics. There are also some heavy guitars that carry the piece. If you were in the right situation this is a band you could truly believe in. While I can appreciate the passion and commitment behind music like this, ultimately it doesn’t connect with me on an emotional level. I’m past the age when one defines oneself through the clothes one wears, the places one goes, or how many shocked gasps one can elicit from passersby. I do like the Adam Ant-style war cry though.
A shrill synth sound leads us into “Le Petit Mort”. The beat has an almost calypso feeling, which is surprising. I’m quite intrigued by Laurence’s lyrics : “Come along where the sea is hazy/A quick affair with an older lady.” Shard have more than one musical arrow in their quiver. One can only imagine how much fun they would be live. There’s the thrill of danger – who knows where they will take you next? Female vocals, presumably from Charlie, offer another surprise. This sort of variety keeps the listener interested.
For the right person Shard are the sort of band you could dedicate your life to. They are an antidote to safe and dull music – and perhaps more importantly – an antidote to safe and dull lives.
The website: www.shardmusic.co.uk