Canadian-born Francis Coyote Shivers is one of those people whose career never seemed to get off the ground in the traditional sense. In the UK, at least, he’s only really known for playing Berko in the film ‘Empire Records’ and even then, most of his scenes only seem to be in the longer cut of the film. He is, however, of most importance to the final scene, performing the not-quite-anthemic ‘Sugarhigh’ on the record store roof.
What, then, can we say about his self-titled album? Trashy. But is it trashy in a glitzy and cool way like Beat Angels and other post-glam acts, or just plain trash? The hard truth is, well, it’d like to be the former but often ends up falling short. ‘Guilty’ has a rock ‘n’ roll heart which could appeal to fans of Gilby Clarke (ex-Guns n’ Roses) and ‘Happiness Is A Warm Bong’is cool, with a nod toward early Replacements and the previously mentioned ‘Sugarhigh’, so it could be argued the Coyote’s influences are present and correct.
Sadly, the song writing is often lacklustre and the attitude on show doesn’t quite cover up the weaknesses. Of the twelve songs, half of them would have been binned by Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson at the demo stage. ‘If’ kind of reminds me of The Stooges, but Shivers doesn’t quite have the charm of Iggy Pop to make it truly work. Pure adrenalin makes ‘Bisexual Girl’ stand out, provided you can get past the lyrics, which hover somewhere between a joke and vulgar.
Despite a couple of stand out tracks, this is one of those albums which comes with little to recommend it, especially when so many others out there do this kind of thing so much better. Why, then, do I play this some days and almost connect with its disposable non-sentiments?
Worth it for ‘Sugarhigh’, but generally, you’re better off with Coyote’s ‘1/2 A Rock ‘n’ Roll Record’ EP, which boasts the genuinely great ‘Plus One’, and mercifully, the show’s over in less than half the time.