3 out of 5
Label: Vicious Circle
Produced by: Kevin Ratterman (recorded by, mixed by)
This album is approximately 1000% more awesome than my rating suggests.
From the first review I’d read on a Shannon Wright album – in Magnet, for Dyed in the Wool – I was pretty much sold. And when I heard the album, I was convinced. Traveling back and forth over her impressive catalogue (including back to Crowsdell) while being wholly convinced that I’d like what I was to hear – and never disappointed – I’ve subsequently taken it for granted how consistently good her material is, whether it leans into something more stripped down, or backed by a band, or louder, or quieter. And In Film Sound continues that: as captured by Kevin Ratterman and mastered by Bob Weston, Wright’s continuance of her distortion-heavy on Secret Blood finds great, aural company, given a grand, cavernous sound by Ratterman and bearing the mark of Weston’s raw, low-end preferences. I put it on and love it right away. Every song is solid, and dark, with Wright’s lyrics applying her simple but effective imagery on invectives capturing the struggle of life and living, and if that sounds generic, well, Wright’s talents as a lyricist have always been in turning everyday-ish concepts in to something that comes across both as deeply personal, but presented openly such that you can then reapply that passion to your own thoughts…
My “problem” with In Film Sound is almost solely down to sequencing, and it’s enough of an issue that it unfortunately renders the last 2/3rds of the album as less effective than its leading third, and potentially even makes it background music. This is kinda due to how goddamned fantastic the opening trio of tracks are, being some of Wright’s loudest and hookiest to date, and coming across as snarling banner statements. It’s fair to set a quieter song after these three, and Who’s Sorry Now? maintains a booming, slow drum beat and Wright’s emotive vocals, but the piano minimalism of followup Bleed feels like it belongs on a different album, tonally, and feels oddly placed as the second quiet song in a row. Mire is a more “traditional” Wright track, segueing between some guitar riffs and more sullen passages, building up to an intense unleashing of noise at its conclusion, but, again, it’s sequenced questionably, not reinstating the direct power with which we began. The following tracks somewhat continue this trend, lacking Mire’s explosive ending, and then a short instrumental closes things out. Are these songs quality? Absolutely. They just lack the admitted instant satisfaction of the lead-ins, and so, comparatively, don’t leave as much of an imprint.
Thus, I always remember how In Film Sound opens, and then can’t remember much about what happens after that. Sprinkling the tracks about in a different order could’ve likely done much to resolve this, though picking and choosing to listen to a song at a time reveals that Wright still maintains that consistently good-ness.