Trip Shakespeare: Matt Wilson (guitar, percussion, piano, electric piano, synthesizer, gong); Dan Wilson (guitar, piano, organ, percussion); John Munson (bass, acoustic bass, percussion, banhu); Elaine Harris (drums, percussion, xylophone).
Recorded at Gark Studio, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Personnel: Dan Wilson (guitar, piano); Matt Wilson (guitar); Elaine Harris (drums, percussion).
Recording information: Gark Studio, Minneapolis.
Are You Shakespearienced? could serve as the first official Trip Shakespeare album because its predecessor, Applehead Man, was a lo-fi affair without cohesion serving as more of a document of a new band learning how to play together. Here, Shakespeare has expanded into a quartet with the addition of Dan Wilson, and leader Matt Wilson has gained better control of his pen. Matt Wilson, at his most poetic, shines on "The Lake," a song which reports the events of two lovers sharing turmoil on the shore's edge as seen by the pike who lives in the lake. This song, along with the minimalist "Two Wheeler, Four Wheeler" and the brilliant unfolding of "Reception," foreshadowed the willowy lyrics Wilson was to master on the following Trip Shakespeare albums, while "Toolmaster of Brainerd," an opus about the Paul Bunyan of guitarists, represents the band's goofy side. Dan and Matt Wilson, and bassist John Munson really worked to hone the remarkable vocal harmonies which liberally peppered their later releases to great effect, making Are You Shakespearienced? a joy to listen to, although it is probably better if regarded as a prequel to the group's masterpieces Across the Universe and Lulu. ~ Gregory McIntosh