Friday's third solo effort, as always with Seezer as his main collaborator, provided another development in his musical approach with the choice of Bomb the Bass mainman Tim Simenon as producer. Further continuing the initial experiments the two did on Adam 'n' Eve, Simenon helped create a dance-influenced album that ranges from industrial slams to clean, elegant breaks, in many ways serving as the model for his following work with Depeche Mode on Ultra. There's more than a few hints of where Massive Attack would end up on Mezzanine as well, as the low pulses and sudden guitar/drum hits on the title track show -- and the fact that the lead single from Shag Tobacco was named "Angel." Friday himself is still the sharp-tongued ruined romantic of the previous albums, as apt to swoon as wittily shred and breathlessly gasp, while Seezer again provides the music and core work on keyboards and accordion (check out "Dolls") to back him perfectly. The obvious glam inspirations the two have always had get full confirmation via a great cover of T. Rex's "The Slider," but rather than trying to recreate that song's exact atmosphere, Simenon helps whip up a clattering, stop-start performance that still keeps all the sex. As for the rest of Shag Tobacco, it's one lush, playful plunge after another into just enough decadence. "Angel" sounds rather like an extension of the striking Adam 'n' Eve closer "Eden," similarly mixing wonderful falsetto from Friday with steady yet soaring music, including great fuzz bass from Erik Sanko. With its outrageous title, "Mr. Pussy" gets credit for being named after a legendary transvestite from Dublin, who provides the brief spoken word conclusion and shows he has as much style as Friday himself. Best song title of the bunch: "You, Me and World War Three."
Shag Tobacco Review
by Ned Raggett