Sport Fishin'
(Cargo Records)

Perfectly timed for the backyard barbecues and clam bake dancing and sun-block spreading we'll all be doing in the next few months, the Shadowy Men's latest is jam packed with the coolest party riffs this side of The Ventures. But wait, what is this I hear? Celtic guitar musings ("Spend A Night, Not A Fortune"), menacing twang ("Relax… You Will Think You're A Chicken") and laid back bluesy grooves ("That Wuz Ear Me Callin' A Horse")? Not to say that Shadowy Men have broken from the spirit that inhabited Dim The Lights, Chill The Ham, their last funny, frantic piece of guitar madness. Produced by Chicago's Steve Albini (who for sure didn't charge them as much as he did Nirvana), Sport Fishin' definitely has a grittier, darker edge, expressing the combined sense of nostalgia, ennui and restlessness inherent in today's Generation X (hmmm … guess that'll do). Without lyrics to reflect their innermost feelings, Shadowy Men invent the most memorable, suggestive titles of any rock trio pushing air through speakers: "What I Like About Grease" could be an homage to kitchen accidents, old-style hair care products, or a silly '70s movie; "Off Our Back, Conrad Black" could be describing anger at our capitalist system or a piggy-back race. No matter, for each listener will surely create their own meanings - and their own dance steps.

(Jennie Punter)