SHIFTING is a 3-piece outfit from Dublin, Ireland playing a caustic yet tempered brand of slithering noise rock. Sharing a member with another one of Dublin’s best noisy outputs No Spill Blood, SHIFTING has been building their sound for the past few years starting with their split 7″ with Gummidge in 2017. Their debut LP, “It Was Good,” is set for release on August 24th, 2020, and can best be described as, umm… a mix of the bite and occasional drone of Shellac, or a softer Unsane, or maybe just the grit of Unsane’s cover of “Ha Ha Ha” by Flipper… hmm… well, somewhere in there lies SHIFTING. Today, we’re giving you a special first hearing of this beauty and brand newmusic video premiere (“Big Bottle”, watch above), along with an extensive, insightful commentary from the band, first-hand track by track rundown, and their thoughts on local music scene in Ireland!
Recorded and mixed at Guerrilla Studios in Dublin, Ireland with local legends John “Spud” Murphy and Ian Chestnutt at the helm and mastered by Harvey Birrell, “It Was Good” is a collaborative international multi-label release between Constant Disappointment Records, Permafrost Records, Whosbrain Records, Assos’Y’Song, and Gabu Records. The LP spans 10 tracks covering a myriad of bass-heavy rhythms with squeamish guitar screeching over tight, groovy drum patterns. Vocals that croon, shout, scream, and whisper. While unplanned, “It Was Good” certainly fits well for the current state of the world, looking back to a time that was, well, not as bad as it is now at least.
The band formed in 2016 with the basic objective of creating noisy music that was also fun and bouncy and to do it in a very fun and easy way. “To trust our instincts rather than deliberating over minute details as we might do in other projects, that way we can churn out songs quite quickly.” – comments the band.
“Matt (No Spill Blood) was already in bands with both Lewis (Elk) and Paul (Hands Up Who Wants To Die) so things fell into place pretty quickly and we played our first gig after three rehearsals.
After writing that first flurry of songs, we honed in on what was unique about them and developed those elements. Our productivity levels slowed down a bit since then but we feel the album and the process of making it stay true to that initial intention of being fun and easy.”
The LP “It Was Good” spans 10 tracks covering a myriad of bass-heavy rhythms with squeamish guitar screeching over tight, groovy drum patterns and vocals that croon, shout, scream and whisper.
Explains the band: “The album title comes from Genesis 1:31 where Moses predicts Ireland’s hottest noise-rock release of 2020 A.D. by saying “And Shifting looked upon all that they had made, and indeed, it was good” which sums up our feelings nicely on the matter.”
“The instruments were recorded live with no click with the intention of capturing the natural sound of the three of us playing in a room. For us to focus on everything sounding and being perfectly in place seemed to go against how we had worked up to that point. The vocals were done drunkenly with a gate on the room mics so they just kicked in when we were shouting. Hopefully the album gives folk a good idea of what Shifting sounds like.”
Track by track commentary
The title comes from the reaction of our engineer (Spud) to music that he really likes. The first time we practiced it, he burst into our rehearsal room and had a “Spudgasm”. The music is basically just a meditation on one monotone rhythmical idea.
2. Polo Neck Dream
Think this was a collaborative ‘in the room’ songwriting process. It’s got a krautrock kinda feel to it. The lyrics are about an inability to express oneself and the comfort and drawbacks involved.
A poppy number. It’s about a particular type of smug, greasy, privileged arrogance.
4. Big Ed
Playful bouncy song about famous, affable serial killer “Ed Kemper”.
5. Voted Most Popular
The Hedigan bros formed the musical building blocks here.
Lyrically this is the band introducing themselves to the world via metaphorical bubbles, telepathic french kissing and the farming practices of our lord and saviour Jesus Christ.
6. Big Bottle
This one is about grim, cold, underage outdoor drinking in Dublin told through a damp-concrete tinged hue. Again a spacious and precise repetition of a wonky rhythm.
We’re not the sharpest tools in the box but we’re almost certain that the Earth is spherical and revolves around the sun.
8. Little Pal
Sufjan Stevens wrote a song about the serial killer John Wayne Gacy Jr. It’s very beautiful and sad which makes sense but we thought it’d be interesting to write a song with a similar theme but with kind of a hip hop beat.
9. Pig From Heaven
Cute confined verses, sharp and wild chorusy type things and an expansive, cacophonous, dirgey outro. The lyrics to this one might sound like there’s a metaphor or deeper meaning hiding beneath the surface but it’s literally about being on a sinking ship.
10. The Bland Leading The Bland
It’s about the realisation that you’re actually quite boring. We tried to make it short and to the point and not boring.
SHIFTING is: Matt : bass, vox, Paul : guitar, vox, Lewis : drums
In 2016, Matt, Paul and Lewis decided to form a band, use three practices to get a set together and play their first gig, a fundraiser for their practice room in a Dublin railway arch. Since then, Shifting have busied themselves by blasting out energetic, pulverising shows around Ireland, the UK, and France. Twisting and molding their wide range of influences, from the likes of My Disco and Death Grips to the Pixies and Part Chimp into a sound that is all their own, Shifting jump from one mood to another with a bitter and unsettling humour.
Shifting play a caustic yet tempered brand of slithering noise rock. Sharing a member with another one of Dublin’s best noisy outputs No Spill Blood, Shifting has been building their sound for the past few years starting with their split 7″ with Gummidge in 2017. Their debut LP, “It Was Good,” is set for release on August 24th, 2020. From lyrical squalid horrors inspired by serial killers, to mundane and banal situations pushed so far they become absurd. Effortless and sensual, their music will not only move you… but shift you. At this point, it’s probably worth mentioning that “Shifting” is Irish slang for “making out” “snogging” “french kissing” etc.
Comments the band: “Our pre-pandemic plans of album launches, tours in Europe and vague intentions to hit the states have now been replaced with plans to keep our heads down, stay out of trouble and scrub our hands rigorously and religiously. Releasing an album without playing any gigs feels like trying to grow broccoli in the desert but we have to keep trying to adapt to this new reality while we eagerly await the return of making loud sounds in small rooms with the taste of other people’s sweat in the air.”
Asked about their local music scene, they continued:
𝐼𝑟𝑒𝑙𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑖𝑠 𝑎 𝑓𝑎𝑖𝑟𝑙𝑦 𝑚𝑖𝑛𝑖𝑠𝑐𝑢𝑙𝑒 𝑠𝑖𝑧𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝑎𝑛 𝑖𝑠𝑙𝑎𝑛𝑑. 𝑇ℎ𝑖𝑠 ℎ𝑎𝑠 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑎𝑑𝑣𝑎𝑛𝑡𝑎𝑔𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑎 𝑙𝑜𝑡 𝑜𝑓 𝑏𝑖𝑙𝑙𝑠 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑏𝑎𝑛𝑑𝑠 𝑐𝑟𝑜𝑠𝑠 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑠𝑡𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑚𝑠 𝑏𝑒𝑡𝑤𝑒𝑒𝑛 𝑔𝑒𝑛𝑟𝑒𝑠 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑚𝑜𝑠𝑡 𝑝𝑎𝑟𝑡 𝑠𝑐𝑒𝑛𝑒𝑠 𝑎𝑟𝑒𝑛’𝑡 𝑡𝑜𝑜 𝑒𝑥𝑐𝑙𝑢𝑠𝑖𝑣𝑒, 𝑖𝑛𝑠𝑢𝑙𝑎𝑟 𝑜𝑟 𝑝𝑢𝑟𝑖𝑠𝑡.
“There are many amazing bands that hail from Ireland. From past greats like Rollerskate Skinny, Virgin Prunes and Redneck Manifesto to current amazingness like Tenpastseven, Horse, God Alone, Altered Hours, The Bonk, Fixity, Percolator, Girlfriend, Riastradh, Shithatt, Junk Drawer and Afterwardness to quality Irish bands actually getting a degree of success like Girl Band and Just Mustard.
We also have/have had our fingers in a lot of musical pies ourselves such as Hands Up Who Wants To Die, No Spill Blood, Elk, Molossus, Guilty Optics, Vatican II, Bridges of Madison County, Sylvan, Shlow, and Grey Mayhem.
Changes are starting to happen to adapt to the current situation and the guys at Live at Guerrilla are doing a new weekly live stream from their studio which is showcasing some great Irish talent.”