Pissing Blood has the band drop into full soul-ballad mode, allowing Shogun the space to fully explore his vocal capabilities and offer insight into his musical headspace post-Royal Headache.
His fraught time in that band and the fame that came with it appears to be referenced in songs with titles such as Fake Love and I Can’t Trust You as Far As I Can Throw You, the latter taking aim at unnamed targets who “already broke my heart, and now they want my soul”.
Soul and blues may be the prime genres that tie Shogun and the Sheets’ music together but there are still surprises. Something Missing unleashes a stomping disco drum beat. Remember flaunts an ’80s FM-rock radio feel thanks to airy synth and an impassioned guitar solo.
Shogun’s often-hilarious banter comes in rapid-fire, expletive-ridden bursts, whether joking about his “heaps diverse” songs or urging his band to play the last tunes of the night faster so he can wrap up this second of two consecutive sets early: “I’m tired and old … I’m 39, and not a healthy 39”.
The kinetic energy exhibited on stage seems at odds with the seated and spaced-out audience, although Shogun shows solidarity with the assembled crowd by taking a seat for several songs (“I’m less rude if I’m sitting on your level”).
Like the one boozy patron who keeps trying to get up and dance despite his friend repeatedly pulling him back to his chair, Shogun’s spirit can’t be contained, and he springs back to his feet for the finale, once again prowling the stage like a caged animal.
While it’s hard to determine how these mostly unreleased songs will sound and fit together in recorded form, one thing is abundantly clear: Shogun is back in the ring where he belongs, his voice still possessing the ability to leave allcomers dazed and delirious.