Tracks

Babe Shadow: "Days of Old"

Single (2011)

By George Bass | 1 August 2011

If you had a crushing fear of technology, how would you live? The sensible way is obviously to wrap yourself in BacoFoil, stick a colander on your head, and sit quietly in the corner deciphering the Morse code in your radiator. The alternative is to form a band who eschew production, and write a song so catchy it prompts others to follow your example. Dave and Tom Shadow, born luddites, live wifi-free in their retreat on Shacklewell Lane, playing ’50s and ’60s pop songs with clean guitar. No Kevin Shields in their collection then.

Apart from managing to keep their hometown off Google Maps (Shacklewell’s a dirty word in London—even cabbies scowl at you for saying it), the duo haven’t yet expanded their clean-living, fresh air-breathing revolution. That might change with “Days of Old” which, despite having a title that sounds like a US family values show, is the catchiest song to emerge from the capital in months. If it doesn’t convince you to abandon your iPhone and go outside, not much else will, except maybe the news that spyware apps are now more popular than oxygen!

Sounding as though it’s fallen goofily through time like Brendan Fraser in California Man, “Days of Old”‘s deep jangle comes from the ’60s radio station in your head. You can imagine the extras in Austin Powers twisting to this, but not as ironically as they did in that film because here they’re having bona fide fun. Dave Shadow plays lead like Bruce Welch, pecking out a carousing 100mph melody and a solo to lever granddads out of chairs. Tom whines out surf vocals next to him, lacing them with the snarl of a medium energy punk track: “Hope you noticed I / Borrowed my attire / From the days of old.” The old fashioned anti-production sounds remarkably clean, and makes the simple but addictive tune shine with all the advantages of living tech-free, and cooking sausages, and doing air force exercises in the morning. Or that could just be the band’s harmonies (which are so warm and sunny they’ll cause a stampede to the coast if played nationally). Either way, it’s a pop song that targets all ages, and might possibly even convince kids it makes more sense to wear your dad’s cotton sweater than a flammable tracksuit top.