Review: For Against – Shade Side Sunny Side

With their last album ‘Coalesced’, Nebraska’s For Against proved that twenty years had done little to quell the spirit and musicianship of the talented trio. Since that release, an exhaustive reissue process has been begun by their label Words On Music, which only serves to highlight that they have always been a great band to rank with other underrated post-punk/dreampop outfits such as The Chameleons and Kitchens Of Distinction. Even more impressively, a quarter of a century into their career, they are still making great records.

For Against CD Cover

The difference between ‘Coalesced’ and ‘Shade Side Sunny Side’ is there all for all to hear in the opening track ‘Glamour’. The rhythm section kicks in like rumbling thunder, Harry Dingman III’s guitar work (back in the fold after a twenty year absence) is more aggressive than ever whilst Jeffrey Running’s always youthful vocals have taken on a degree of urgency. After the similarly powerful ‘Underestimate’, the mood settles down for ‘Why Are You So Angry?’, the gentler delivery offering a subtler glimpse into a troublesome life before ending in a dreamy coda that is pure Chameleons. The other ballad ‘Game Over’ also impresses; here Runnings’ goes it alone with voice and piano for much of of the song; it’s a deeply personal track wih the emotion and melody pitched at just the right level to avoid the overly-sentimental. ‘Quiet Please’, on the other hand, is one of those tracks which builds up and up in to increasing menace as its mood descends into a well of increasing darkness. Another stunning moment.

In fact the only track which didn’t impress me is a cover of Section 25’s ‘Friendly Fires’, probably because the group don’t actually need to release versions of Factory Records’ favourites to prove their worth; they have enough songs in their own armoury to do without such homages. Otherwise, For Against work on their own identity which – whilst certainly influenced by the early 1980s – has a freshness and vitality of its very own. Furhermore, with their balance of euphoria and miserablism nailed down to perfection, remarkably For Against seem to have reached a peak after all this time.

Web Sites:
For Against MySpace
Words On Music Label Site

Further Listening:
The Chameleons, The Comsat Angels, The Opposition

1 Response to “Review: For Against – Shade Side Sunny Side”

  1. 1 Chris Chandler August 22, 2008 at 12:27 am

    Rating: 5 stars!
    This cd grabs me unlike any other cd has since ‘Strange times’ by the late great Chameleons. It gets better with every listen. ‘Game Over’ is my favorite song on the cd starting w/ some piano and ending in crashing guitars, my type of song. I love this cd so much that I have invited the band to play Atlanta Ga on Sat. November 8, 2008 for a one off show. Please some and support this amazing band at the Earl here in Atlanta. or for advance tickets. Contact me for more info at
    posted by Chris Chandler on Aug 21, 2008

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