The Last Mixed Tape reviews The Grand Stretch, the debut E.P. from indie three-piece Shrug Life on the Popical Island label.
The Grand Stretch is the kind of record that is easily relatable, but in a way that may make you reassess. Speaking of the boredom, self expectations and frustrations that life can throw at you Shrug Life’s debut E.P. takes a wry look at modern life, constructing a warts and all visage.
And while this may seem on the surface like a heavy subject to cover, the real trick in the tail with the Grand Stretch is how Shrug Life tell their story through humour and self-deprecation, all supported by a jangling off-kilter indie-pop sound indigenous of group’s part of the Popical Island collective.
“Welcome to the wilderness years” repeats vocalist Danny Carroll during the E.P’s opener ‘Chewing Gum Breakfast’, a biting look at the opportunities for college graduates and telesales off-set by the line “bachelors of arts and cold calling”. Although delivered with hooks and catchy indie-pop sounds, the subtext of the track still shine through with added purpose.
However the Grand Stretch doesn’t just look at this one aspect of life. Songs like ‘Long Ball Game’ speak about the lack of confidence in relationships with the same unique comedic tone, “with my Kevin Kilbane conviction, graceless, slow-paced but persistent”.
The Grand Stretch is an E.P. that work on multiple levels. One part indie-pop fun and another grounded storytelling, Shrug Life’s music is a truly unique prospect in the Irish indie-pop scene, set apart by their deft touch with humour, irony and satire. A bitingly honest record, delivered with a spoonful of indie-pop.
The Grand Stretch by Shrug Life is due for release on July 25th via Popical Island.