A couple of months ago, we had an email conversation with Allen Epley and one of the questions was about The Egg. Flash forward a bunch of months (that’s three stone ages in Internet time) and The Egg is out this week, on delirious vinyl. And on a very, very limited run (just 1000), that will be sold in the reunion show. If any are left (that’s a big “if”, fella), they will be available at this place. Now, a teaser:
So after many years, how does this record hold up? Well, I guess it’s always up to personal taste. Ask 3 fans of Shiner what’s their fave album, you’ll get 3 different opinions (at least that’s what my experience has taught me). The first time I heard The Egg, I didn’t pay attention until ‘The top of the world’, an utterly mesmerising song that for some strange reason, always makes me think of American Analog Set. It’s an atmospheric moment amidst the mad drumming and hypnotic guitars; a safe heaven of reflection amongst the manic energy that pervades The Egg (heck, every Shiner album is full of caffeinic (!) energy).
‘The egg’ always felt like the meeting point between Shiner and The Life & Times, were the full on steamroller of the former meets the crosshatch beauty of the latter. Layer upon layer of musical ideas are laid, with a special mention to Mr. Jason Gerken, who makes this song explosive. Lyrically, it’s my fave of the bunch (and it’s a stiff competition), with this being the moment I became a Shiner fan: “Five wheels, stolen for their need for untold speed / Three break leaving two more straining just to breathe / There’s one now but he can’t notice / He’s cradling his Egg“.
There’s something about ‘Andalusia’, the expansive instrumental track that musically moves like a Fourier Series, the iterative ideas feel like those hills and valleys that life offers you. ‘The Simple Truth’ might feel more like a valley than a hill; nostalgia fills the jar and spills over the brim on that emotionally overwhelming instrumental part (that drumming, dear God…).
I always have a spot of trouble defining Shiner to the uninitiated. They certainly had a rock disposition (‘Surgery’, ‘Pills’) and they sure loved to deliver a leftfield ditty that’s more atmospheric and meandering than edgier and straight (‘Stoned’, ‘Spook the herd’). I guess ‘Space Rock’ has been bandied around and that’s a good tag, maybe adding “resourceful” could help.
The Egg is a classic, that’s undisputed. I can’t think of a single track I’d dispose of nor move from the tracklisting, it just is quite cohesive and fulfilling. This might be a one-off remaster and maybe it will be a good snare to get a few more fans to a very underrated band. You can listen to The Egg at Spinner.
Words: Sam J. Valdés López