Does a day go by when some obscure band doesn’t reunite? Is anyone actually calling for these reunions, or can no one let go of the past? I was a Shudder to Think fan up until it signed to Epic in 1994, wherein the band seemed to lose sight of what actually made it interesting. Shudder to Think’s first few records on Sammich and Dischord, respectively, showcased an artful interpretation of punk’s subversive melodic side with a penchant for technical prowess juxtaposed with Craig Wedren’s trilling falsetto. Driving the weirdness with his utterly nonsensical lyrics, Wedren was a spectacle live. By the time Epic came a-knocking, though, the original line-up was a shambles and the disarming artiness quickly morphed into glammed-up indulgence.
The asterisk in the headline represents the fact that this Shudder to Think reunion only applies if you count the major label years, which I don’t, really. The addition of guitarist Nathan Larson absolutely ruined the band for me. I’ll never forget the time I saw Shudder to Think supporting Pony Express Record at Irving Plaza in New York for CMJ circa 1994, and Larson, decked out in a feather boa, if memory serves, literally wanked and soloed through every single song. It was so abhorrent, I walked out in disgust.
Anyway, leave it to a hippie to bring people back together. Rain Phoenix orchestrated this Shudder to Think reunion, as her band, Papercranes, was in the midst of a residency at Mercury Lounge when she asked Wedren if he and Larson could maybe get over their dramatic bullshit and play a few songs together. The duo obliged, of course, and Larson’s inexplicable wife, Nina Person of the Cardigans, even sang back up. The impromptu set drew mostly from Pony Express Record, but they did play “Red House” off Funeral at the Movies.