Track by Track: Shattercones on Their Debut EP ‘Oppenheimer’

London quartet Shattercones are made up of the constituent parts of several of Joyzine’s favourite bands of the past few years, and after some impressive live shows we’ve been hotly anticipating the release of their first recordings.  Oppenheimer, released today, does not disappoint, four beautifully melancholic slices of cinematic Americana with dust on their boots and the slightest hint of a grim smile at the corners of their mouths.  Frontman Jason Idnani-Powdrill’s rich vocal sits atop a swell of guitar, drums, viola and lap steel.  We asked the band to talk us through the EP track by track.

Oppenheimer

“This song was originally supposed to be the slower first part of a fast song we had… but it quickly grew into its own pair of trousers and we cut the other part of the song loose (a search party was dispatched and it may yet be recovered).

What can I say. It’s a monolithic dirge. It carries such an impending sense of doom and euphoria at the same time that it shouldn’t really exist.

The title came first (we like working titles), which then informed the lyric. I wanted to convey the idea of oncoming destruction, but from a more personal, grounded perspective. I’m a big fan of imagery in lyrics.

Musically, it ticks along on a steady hypnotically metronomic rhythm, with some vaguely threatening backing vocals. The doubled up lap steel and viola lend an irresistible hook, and when the actual drums crash in at the end, you almost feel ashamed for not missing them during the first three quarters of the song.”

Love on Repeat

“Written some years ago, and left to gather cobwebs until it was unearthed in a freak mining accident, ‘Love on Repeat’ is a perfectly miserable country song concerned with the consumption of alcoholic beverages (almost made it to alliteration there). It wallows just the right amount of time in its own pool of tears and beer and ironically, it’s the only time that I haven’t tried to write a country song. Typical.

It’s an understated gem brought to life by some beautifully reserved playing, which we thought could only be followed up by a raging shitstorm of rumbling noise, which leads us conveniently on to…..”

Shattercones

Yes, we named a song after ourselves, like ‘Living in a Box’ by Living in a Box…

This song came from the seed of an idea from Dermot on the lap steel, and was initially going to be a short instrumental interlude we could play live between songs to kill any uncomfortable silences during all that awkward tuning up, but it grew into this multifaceted, Lovecraftian beast.

The lyrics were whittled down from about 25 verses, and I made a conscious effort to make them as sparse as possible so that they wouldn’t intrude too much on the music itself.

Thematically, the doom is this time tempered by a yearning to escape and disappear, which is apt for a song that sucks you in and tosses you about before discarding you on a dark country lane, bewildered and dressed only in your underwear with no recollection of the previous night.”

Starlings

We decided to end the EP on a high (cue canned laughter). ‘Starlings’ dates back to mine and Arran’s Bridport Dagger days, although it felt like we never quite did it justice… until now.

This one really came together via the studio, where we stripped it down, dissected it, and then glued bits of it back together. Like Frankenstein. Except a lot more sexy.

It’s a recording that yields something new with every listen. It’s full whilst not being overloaded, which is thanks to the guiding hand of Rob (producer/engineer) who was very patient and did a fantastic job of translating our slightly vague notions into fully grown ideas.

The bolero strings and drum battalion at the end still makes me grin like an idiot, and then it fades back into bird noise (that’s actually Neil on the viola, fact fans) to give a pleasing, circular feel….like the calm after a particularly intense storm.

It’s at this point you might want to press “play” again.”

Oppenheimer EP is available on CD and digital download from shatterconesband.bandcamp.com

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