Saturday, December 20, 2014

CD Review: Omnivore Recordings Remind Us Of Trip Shakespeare With New Releases

Underground, alternative rock band Trip Shakespeare never found the success in music sales that their record labels had hoped for, but a cult following developed since their break-up in 1992. A revival for the band began in 2013 when they reunited for the first time in 20 years for a holiday show in December of that year. Omnivore Recordings is continuing the revival by releasing the band's first two albums ("Applehead Man" and "Are You Shakespearienced?") on CD and vinyl. The new re-issues became available on December 16th and each album features bonus tracks from the same era the albums were recorded.

Trip Shakespeare's debut album "Applehead Man" was originally released in 1986 and follows the vein of other new wave bands R.E.M. and The Smiths. Their sound held on to the electronic pop of eighties, but added some post-punk flair to their music as in "Fangs" and "Applehead Man." The funky bass groove of "Highway In The Sun" and pre-grunge feel of "Beatle" shows a band still searching for their sound. The original ten-song album gets an additional seven bonus tracks, consisting of outtakes that were recorded during the same sessions, but never made the final album. The songs "Freedom Bird" and "Fool Of The Wicked Kind" are the most welcome additions to this release as they expand upon the band's modern rock sound.

The band's second album, "Are You Shakespearienced?" was record live in the studio with everyone playing together and in turn, helped them get a record deal with A&M Records. The looseness of the album is felt in the jam of "Swing" as they dropped most of the electronic feel of their first album to develop a more rock-based sound as in "Two Wheeler, Four Wheeler." The hardness of "Toolmaster Of Brainerd" shows another side to Trip Shakespeare's songwriting as their songwriting became more developed. The original nine song album gets expanded with nine bonus tracks, including early versions of the songs "Bachelorette" and "Snow Days," which would appear on later albums. To find out more about these latest re-issues from Trip Shakespeare, please visit

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