by DC the Medic
The French word for egg is oeuvre, which also their word for a work or piece of art. Chef d'oeuvre is the French word for masterpiece, and The Egg is Shiner's masterpiece. This album showed more of a Jawbox influence than the shades of Season To Risk on their previous album Starless. After adding Josh Newton on second guitar, Shiner began adding polyrhythmic and polytonal elements to their sound. On The Egg, Shiner used these elements with odd time signatures to create multiple layers that formed not so much a wall of sound, but an intricate tapestry. On just about every song, every instrument is playing something separate that builds to a climaxing crescendo. Listen to "Play Dead" and "Andalusia" for the best examples of this. Don't assume this is just tuneless noise, this is definitely rock music in the truest Carduccian meaning of the term.
The album as a whole also takes these separate parts to create a sweeping movement that slowly builds steam until it reaches its climax on "The Simple Truth" and then recovers and builds again to a final exclamation on "Pills" before finally fading away on "Stoned." In a way this also represents the story of the band itself. They toiled for many years without receiving much recognition until shortly after The Egg was released they played one last show in their home of Kansas City and broke up. If the title track is interpreted to be autobiographical, they were finally left cradling their egg, their collected works, which in my opinion were ahead of their time and have only improved with age.
I know this isn't a metal or hardcore album, but it is still a very interesting one with a lot going on. Real fans of music would be advised to listen to this with a good pair of headphones to appreciate the many layers. It's just a shame these Midwesterners never got the appreciation they deserved when they were around. However they have gone on to form new bands in Shiner's wake, my personal favorite being Allen Epley's The Life And Times, which is chock full of spacey, Midwest weirdness. Accidental? Maybe.
Shiner - The Egg
10 months ago