For a band that has been together for over a decade, Shortstraw are definitely veterans in the indie rock scene. Those Meddling Kids began as a project the band embarked on to release a song every month for the space of 12 months. Releasing the first single in September 2016, the band finally released the project as a full-length album in September 2017. For more information about that check out our Shortstraw interview in this link.
Those Meddling Kids is the fourth album by Shortstraw and it creates quite the musical experience.
Ignorance Is Bliss begins this album with its playful cartoon-y piano progressions, followed closely by classic post-punk influenced drum patterns and guitar licks. It’s a beautiful start to the album and although it’s barely three minutes long, it shows the versatility of the band. T-Shirt feels like the kind of song you want to play at a beach party. Shortstraw quite colourful and happy in the way they approach this song.
Keep It In The Family helps clear any doubt in your mind that these guys understand the dynamics of indie rock music. I particularly enjoyed Russell on the bass guitar on this song and the way the rest of the band joined in the chorus towards the end. Thailand is my guilty pleasure on this album. Everything about this song is infectious from the handclaps at the beginning to the head-bobbing chorus. My only wish is that they kept it longer.
Bowsie belongs to the guitarists. As a huge fan of Indie Rock, I know that very few bands pay attention to their bass guitar the way Shortstraw does. On this song, Tom Revington totally kills it on the lead guitar and Russell Grant is amazing on the bass guitar as always. I particularly love the chants at the chorus.
Boo slows down this pace of this album for the first time. It doesn’t drag however but keeps a steady pace first start to finish. I like how Alastair’s voice really shines on this track, it’s the first song on the album that isn’t instrumentally driven. If I’m The Tide is a beautiful song and I applaud the story-telling vibe the song carries. To be fair, a lot of the songs on this album tell beautiful stories but this song is a wonderful exception. I particularly like how Alastair sings ‘you can’t write shit like this.’ Fun stuff right there.
Rich Richards feel like a continuation of If I’m The Tide in terms of tone. It’s quite short but totally worth it especially with the hilarious lyrics (Alastair makes a short speech at the 56th second that leaves me in stitches).
Our Simple Minds starts with organ sounds that remind you of a church hymn. It’s a really mellow and moderately paced song with some real emotional depth and I admire that. Gad De Combes’ work on the keyboards throughout this album was generally subtle. However, a few tracks have him front row and center. Jetlag is one of those songs.
The Less We’re Together for all intents and purposes is a Pop Punk song. With a catchy chorus and awesome guitar solos by Tom, it’s just more of the stuff we expect from the band. Eventually is the last song on this album and it’s the longest. Being the only song that exceeds the 4-minute mark, Eventually carries a very different tone from the rest of the album.
It’s still loads of fun to listen to but there is a strong air of morbidity to the song as Alastair sings ‘you know eventually we’ll all die.’ In some ways, this song just might be my best on the album because it stands out the most.
I have mixed feelings about this album. In a general sense, I love it but I have a few gripes that probably come from the way the album was made. Given the nature of the project, there are points where the album feels like a collection of good singles as opposed to being a cohesive album.
This tends to make the album feel disjointed and monotonous at different times. I think it would have helped a bit if the track listing was rearranged to give it a more united feel.
Nevertheless, the album is brilliant, to say the least, and I definitely would have more than half of the songs here on repeat on my playlist.