Shayne P Carter 2016Seven years on from the last Dimmer album “Degrees of Existence” here’s Shayne P. Carter back with the brooding and challenging “We Will Rise Again”

Even though “We Will Rise Again” is centered around Carter’s piano playing, it is still recognisably Shayne P. Carter and there are bursts of brutal guitar noise to remind us of the 6-string sonic background we normally associate with this enduring New Zealand musician.

The other musicians playing on the track are drummer Gary Sullivan (Dimmer, JPS Experience),  bassist Nick Roughan (Skeptics), saxophonist Richard Steele (who played on The Puddle’s “Playboys in the Bush” album) and the intense string arrangements from Tamasin Taylor (Nudie Suits, Peachy Keen).

It’s a somewhat experimental, challenging listen in places, even a little bit Scott Walker at times, although without the difficult angles and baffling weirdness. Shayne P. Carter has always been about the tune and about the sensations of emotion and this song is no exception, despite its differences.

The shifting times signatures, sense of foreboding, dynamics, and especially the muted saxophone part at two and half minutes here are even a little reminiscent the kind of thing serious prog-rock legends Van Der Graaf Generator did back in the 1970s.

This progressive experimentalism was signalled in the notes to that 2009 Dimmer album where Shayne set out a manifesto which could equally apply to “We Will Rise Again” –

“i also wanted to make a return to the more experimental vibe evidenced on our first album which remains my favourite dimmer record to this point. i liked that record because it was brave and unafraid and because it didn’t sound like anything, or anyone, else. while “degrees of existence” is sonically a different beast altogether i think it has that sense of trying things while still dealing in ‘songs’. i’m not interested in music that goes from A to B to C in a fashion you’ve heard a million times before. i’m not interested in pastiche or ripping anybody off. i’m not interested in ‘irony’. i’m also not interested in becoming a ‘family favourite’ , a musician a ‘country can be proud of’, going on game shows or gradually diluting my music as i weary with jadedness and age. fuck that. i wanna make the kind of music that i’d like to hear – and that involves originality, vitality, and, yes, the sense of trying things.”

For the uninitiated, a trip through the back catalogue of Shayne P. Carter bands is a trip through the very best of NZ’s post-punk music. Start with his high school band Bored Games, work your way through Doublehappys and Straitjacket Fits to Dimmer.

 

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