Interview by Barry Egan
Late Scottish psychiatrist R. D. Laing had it just about right when he described insanity thus: ‘A perfectly rational adjustment to an insane world’.
Echoing that emotion, Shane ‘Tex’ Fallon, lead singer of The Shoos, sings in his band’s compelling rendition of Gnarls Barkley’s Crazy for the Windmill Lane Sessions on Independent.ie thus:
‘I remember when, I remember, I remember when I lost my mind/
There was something so pleasant about that place/
Even your emotions had an echo/
In so much space..’
With their new, self-titled album, The Shoos seem in a different sonic space than on their two previous albums — 2011’s Rescue Room followed a year later by Panic Slowly.
Their guitars are dirtier, the overall sound and mood is less poppy and — in a word — heavier.
Asked how, and why, this happened Joe O’Connor, lead guitarist in the band, says: “It kind of happened naturally really. In the writing process, I think, it just felt right.”
Tex adds that “sometimes before we felt under pressure to have a radio friendly hit, as it were.
“And we would always focus on that,. This time around we focused on the songs and the music we want to play — which is probably the best way to go about it.”
“It should always be the way to go about that!” he laughs.
Another difference with the new Shoos’ album is lyrically...
“We were told stop writing about girls,” laughs Tex but he isn’t joking, “because all our last albums were about girls.”
“So no more songs about girls! So this album is quite topical. It is about us losing our record deal in America, It’s about the way the economy was and the way government was.”
“Then there’s some personal stuff. There’s a song about my grand-dad on it. There is a love song, but not in a traditional pining kind of way.”
“We’ve been off the radar for a while but we’re back though,” he adds.
Why The Shoos went off the radar was that they were working on the new album — “and it dragged,” says bassist Steve Maher.
“It dragged more than we thought it was going to drag anyway!”
“But the recording process can be quite long. We wrote and recorded it quite a while ago and it took about a year and a half to mix...”
“I don’t want to drop any names” he says before dropping names to beat the band, “but Jay from Kodaline was going to mix it. Then they [Kodaline] got so busy that he didn’t have time to do it.”
“We left him off the hook,” The Shoos laugh of the Kodaline genius, Jay Boland.
How do they think The Shoos are viewed in Ireland?
“I think people view the Shoos as maybe a bit soft in the middle and maybe even a bit past it,” laughs Tex.
“I think begrudgery is still huge in Ireland and there’s people that don’t want to see us succeed.”
“But there’s the real fans who can track our trajectory — good and bad — and see the growth in us and our music and see the quality improve and think we’re a great live rock band with great songs.”
So what’s the big plan?
“The big plan for us is to release the new single Top Of The World, to follow it up with the new album. It is our third album and it is, we think, our best work to date.”
“So we are going to throw everything we have at it. The plan is to keep going, to keep making great songs, to not let age, success or anything really get in the way of making and playing music.”
“It’s our passion and joy,” says Tex, “so why would you stop?”