1000 Albums Project

ALBUM 444

Shine Box, by Picturehouse
Suggested by Mel Connolly

Sometimes, the smallest things have the biggest impact.

Shine Box, by Picturehouse, is a serviceable slice of Nineties Pop. It’s inoffensive, and tuneful, and bland and forgettable. Straight off the soundtrack of Dawson’s Creek, in one ear, out the other. Picturehouse are an Irish band that have toured with Saw Doctors and Bon Jovi, peddling Power Pop for twenty-seven years and counting. No impact on the UK charts, little impact in Ireland, a rudimentary Wiki page with no links for their albums and band members’ names in red instead of blue.

Shine Box is their debut, and the band have released it three times to date. It contains fourteen songs, thirteen of which are perfectly pleasant-yet-passable. The outlier, track seven, annoyed me so intensely I could barely focus on the second half of the album.

It’s a tiny, practically inconsequential thing that tweaked my nipple. Nevertheless, my nipple is now purple, and the rest of this review will be discussing it. If you’re here for the incisive musical deconstruction, I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed. Then again, if you’re here for the incisive musical deconstruction, you’ve likely been disappointed for months.

So. My bugbear. Track seven. My standout, for the wrong reasons.

Fan Club.

Fan Club is a Kinks-esque Dedicated-Follower-of-Fashion-alike with a morbidly comic bent. The lyrics are centred on a happy man who’s obsessed with serial killers. The early verses see him skipping gaily with a bagful of murder books, watching murder films, buying murder magazines. By the end of the song, it’s intimated that he’s murdered a local woman. Hit the chorus, fade to grey.

Now.

In a small sense, on first listen, I felt seen. I enjoy watching shows about serial killers, reading books about serial killers, and so on. I’m not the person at the end of the song, but my bookshelves and viewing habits certainly mirror those of the person at the start. Is this what pissed me off? No.

Next, there’s the suggestion that the media someone consumes could lead them into a copycat criminality. Fetishize murder, consume “murder porn”, kill people. I believe such stimulants are symptoms rather than causes, but I acknowledge it’s an delicate debate and am open to being convinced otherwise. Is this what pissed me off? No.

It was the chorus that pissed me off. Specifically, these lines:

And he worships Charlie Manson
Wishes he was Eddie Gein
He’s a member of the fan club
For the criminally insane

“Eddie Gein” is the multiple murderer Ed Gein, the de facto inspiration for both Norman Bates of Psycho and Leatherface of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. For people who study this stuff, he’s very famous indeed.

His surname, Gein, rhymes with Queen.

Sometime, admittedly, it’s pronounced to rhyme with Twine, but the man himself confirmed it rhymes with Queen.

It does not, does not, rhyme with Gain. And, consequently, it does not rhyme with Insane.

This pisses me off royally.

Such a tiny, inconsequential thing, yet it soured my enjoyment of this album to an almost immeasurable extent. It smacks of laziness, lack of research, or a don’t-give-a-toss attitude that sours my mind and purses my lips. It takes what was generously a shrugfest six down to a grudging 4/10, which I happily acknowledge is completely unfair.

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