Angus Crowne and the Family Jewels – ‘Shag Rug’

A surreal sound sets on Angus Crowne and the Family Jewels’ otherworldly stylistic tour de force of “Shag Rug”. Throughout the album, the only constant is the poetic storytelling of Angus Crowne and his reassuring vocals. Beyond that everything else is fair game. Songs shift wildly going from ukulele-inspired punk to psychedelic twee. Strangely inviting there is a warmth to the stories scattered throughout the album.

With “Little Green Men” Angus Crowne and the Family Jewels infuse a bit of the blues into the proceedings. Light and summery is the childlike twee of “Shag Rug”. On “Get Me A Beer” Angus Crowne and the Family Jewels choose a solid path, one full of colorful detail. Acting as an ode to the inevitability of aging is the psychedelic pop of “Middle Age Crawl”. Rather calming is the album highlight, the reassuring spirit of “Calm Seas” where a variety of instrumentation is brought into the mix, creating something that feels so real. Reminiscent of Jim O’Rourke’s off-kilter attitude is the elastic sound of “Opened Book”. Punk rock comes into view on the rush of “The 99”. Everything comes together to create this confrontational approach. Deserving to be played as loud as possible is the disorienting world of “Punk Rock Aftershock”. Ending things on a high note is the dance-rock finale of “Beyond The See (Funk Splat Remix)”.

Playful to its very core, Angus Crowne and the Family Jewels craft a unique world with the oddly compelling work of “Shag Rug”.

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