Friday, December 7, 2018

Forgotten Fridays: Schtum - Grow

Forgotten Fridays is an occasional feature here at If It’s Too Loud... where we go back and find the lost records of our glory days. We played these on our college radio shows, put them on countless mix tapes, and then forgot they existed. We go back and remind you of their existence, and help decide if they were any good.

This might be the most forgotten release we've done on Forgotten Fridays. Schtum have virtually no web presence. No Facebook, Twitter, or even Wikipedia page. The most I can find about them is that they were from Northern Ireland, were managed by Paul McLoone of The Undertones, and broke up while touring America. That's it. I've been able to find more about singer Christian McNeil, so apparently moved out to the Boston area and sang with Sea Monsters and Orchestra Morphine, even winning a Boston Music Award for Best Male Vocalist in 2011.

I remember Schtum's "Skydiver" being played a bunch on the Boston meathead radio station back in 1996, and the video being played on a local video show a lot. I haven't listened to anything of theirs in over twenty years. I was shocked at how weird this album is. I remember it being loud alternative rock, but Grow is quirky without being twee. McNeil's vocals and delivery are a weird combination of G. Love, Mike Doughty back in his Soul Coughing days, and John Doe of X. Schtum are quite a bit different from anything else I remember from that day, since most bands weren't combining G. Love with post grunge hard rock. Grow isn't all hard rock. Songs like "Follow (1989)" are almost downright Britpop. It's worth a listen, though. Even if you don't remember ever hearing "Skydiver."

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