Sugar Horse release new single ‘The Great Shame’

By Liam Knowles

Bristol-based post-grunge sad bois Sugar Horse have just released ‘The Great Shame’, accompanied by a bloody bleak music video. You can check it out below.

Rather than try and sum it up, here’s what Sugar Horse frontman Ashley Tubb had to say about it:

“The idea for The Great Shame started just after we’d released DRUGS. We noticed a couple people mentioning how the EP was longer than some albums. A fact we do not deny. Unfortunately, with how slow all our songs are, if we wanna do more than just a verse and a chorus it’s gonna come in over 6 minutes. Try as you may, you cannot escape the trappings of time. Anyway, I thought it would be pretty funny to release a single, in the same year, that was as long as the EP. Just to really hammer the point home. As a band, we constantly make jokes about how all our songs are just one note played in slightly different rhythms for very extended periods of time. We ran with this too.

“Wouldn’t it be pretty funny to release a half hour long song, that’s just open A over and over.”

This turned from a sort of joke into a bit of a challenge in my head. Could I make this thing interesting, or would it be the height of tedium? I reckon we succeeded in the prior, but I’ll leave that up to everyone else.

The depths of lockdown provided me a tonne of time to mess around with instrumental passages of the song and get a general idea of structure. While I was working on this, Jake sent me a link to a short documentary on BBC iPlayer. It was called Heart Of An Angel. Directed and produced by Molly Dineen in 1989. It follows the working days of the Angel Tube Station staff for 48 hours, shortly before it’s closure and renovation in 1992. Prior to this the station had been open and operational for 100 years. You can see this age in the sheer dilapidation of the station itself. Things are broken beyond repair. Everything looks bleak and barely holding together, dusty traces of an old London are clearly visible everywhere. In this backdrop work a non-more juxtaposed group of staff. There’s the day shift, the old guard so set in their ways, they plough on regardless of consequence to the station or their own wellbeing. Characters like Derek the ticket seller dive headlong into long diatribes about how their life has ultimately been a pointless endeavour and Ray the foreman who longs for a place very different than this run down hole in the ground. Working next to them, but never actually seeing them, are the night shift. Younger (mostly) and new to London. They moved there for the chance of money and a more exciting life, instead they end up pulling human hair out of the railway tracks in the dead of night.

This film really rang true with the various mad things going on around the world at the time. A feeling of a huge change in the old guard. Destruction of old, long broken systems and the dissatisfaction of younger generations being forced to “work the night shift”.
The theme really stuck with me and I decided to make this the subject of the song, however after a short revisit of Adam Curtis’ (documentary maker Hypernormalisation, The Century Of Self etc) back catalogue and a late night viewing of Paul Wright’s Arcadia I decided to properly fuse the two ideas. Arcadia was made up of entirely archive footage of various festivals, ceremonies and celebrations from the British countryside. Somehow, with the help of editing and music, he managed to transform these silent little windows in time into a horror film and a truly terrifying one at that. It was this and the almost YouTube vlogger style of Adam Curtis that made me realise I can transform Heart Of An Angel into something different. Something about moving out of the past and into the future. Looking back on the past with scorn and learning from the mistakes of those old guard who were too terrified to change.”

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