Quiet Rebellion – Still Talking Scribble


It would be easy to lump Shaun Hunter in with the Bon-Iver lo-fi aural soundscape movement, all dreamy late-night swirls and looping bleeps and clicks. Melancholia-tinged chords, ethereal effects and obtuse lyrical patterns have long been the preserve of the lone singer-songwriter: Jeff Buckley’s Grace, Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights, for instance but where Quiet Rebellion differs is in the medium. It feels like he’s chosen the wrong one: lots of artists songs could easily be stripped of their music and melody and turned instead into poems: Billy Bragg, Admiral Fallow – but it feels to me, very much like Hunter should have left these words on the page.

You can see what he’s trying to do. Indeed in the liner notes of the very beautifully packaged CD, Shaun Hunter tells us he was “aiming to capture the sound …in my head…a dreamesque spectral song.” There are times when it works but all too often it sounds like an overwrought lo-fi prog-rock music bed for those little “all about Estonia/Norway/Andorra” featurettes on the Eurovision Song Contest.

There’s a pervasive sense of very self-conscious, awkward English folk music throughout Still Talking Scribble. Echoes of influences abound, sometimes to the point of being almost interpretations of other songs; ‘Marriage of Convention’ for all its lyrical cleverness never quite manages to shake off the shackles of Tracy Chapman’s ‘Behind The Wall’, remember “The police, always come late when they come at all”?

The Boss’ ‘Dancing in The Dark’, the song which inspired the project is given (perhaps too) reverential treatment; stripping away the bombast of the original to expose the words at their most poetic. A nice idea but Springsteen doesn’t exactly hide his emotions away and it’s only the less sharp of tools (Mr. R Reagan, anyone?) who miss the main point of Bruce’s songs.

Ultimately, Still Talking Scribble is a clever idea executed ably but not brilliantly. Evoking a landscape (or a seascape) through music is something which has stood the test of time in many a classical piece – Smetana’s Vltava being a prime example of the power of a river being conjured up through the majesty of a string section – and can work really well in popular music too: James Yorkston and The Boy Who Trapped The Sun are two artists not a million miles away from Quiet Rebellion who manage to suggest the sound of the sea through the clever twiddle of a guitar or two. Mr. Hunter, sadly, is still just dipping his toes in the water of that level of craftsmanship.

[rating: 2]


God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.