"Sympathy" - The Stragglers

…and another rebuild/remix. This is one of Shayne’s tunes, always liked this one actually and like playing it, though it never seems all that well-received when we perform it live… :confused:

Its based on a true story from a TV show called “Sensing Murder”



hmm, not sure why it wouldn’t go over well live, it certainly has a big element to it, cool vocal harmonies and that big drum part, coming down the toms to the snare. the toms would have to be large to give it that impact live. I think thats an important part of the song, sounds good in the mix. I listened this morning on my cheaper computer speakers and the bass was strong without plouding. thats something I always struggle with, getting a bass mix compatible across small and large systems. maybe you could share how you approach that

possibly because live its very much stripped back - we usually play these songs as a 3-piece. :confused:

I listened this morning on my cheaper computer speakers and the bass was strong without plouding. thats something I always struggle with, getting a bass mix compatible across small and large systems. maybe you could share how you approach that

Well, nothing special. I think the raw material i.e. Shayne’s bass DI’d straight into Cubase is a solid starting point. The tone straight off the pickups is really good to mix with. Other than that, plenty of compression, I usually EQ a peak somewhere around 750hz - 1Khz (and there’s usually other EQ adjustments too depending on the mix) and I also add another compressor side-chained with the kick.


I like the harmonies, they sound great. The vocal is a bit loud in my opinion, and the high end seems a bit empty?

Mix sounds just fine. Production is really good. I think you have a lot of really good ideas to make it more interesting. No complaints about the levels or anything.

I think the song is quite good; but I think the encoding is really hurting the sound quality on playback

I dunno about this one. :confused:

Vocally I’d have preferred more extended notes in parts.

I think the kick drum could be re-explored?

Lots of good stuff in the arrangement, but not sure about
the song itself. Not a great one from you guys, my 2c worth.

Cheers. Optimal vocal levels is something that is often debated. I tended to mix vocals lower in the past but it was suggested to me that from a commercial perspective its always better to have the vocal sitting forward. shrug But this aint ever going to be commercial so I guess it doesn’t matter! :slight_smile:

Cheers! :slight_smile:

The Bandcamp curse! :imp: Not sure why the majority of my BC streams suffer. Others don’t seem to have the same issue it seems :confused:

I was once told (by you know who) that long notes are out of fashion! :astonished: When I did that OPT4Red CD with my ex years ago that was one of the main “pro” criticisms - singer holding the notes too long - makes it sound dated - apparently. Who would have ever thought that note length would ever be subject to fashion trends! :laughing: I would have thought it very much depended on musical style to be honest. Anyway, Shayne is a big fan of a short accented deliveries - particularly on his songs, and given that this is his song… Though, having said that I don’t think I’m singing all that short or accented?? But certainly not long-held notes either…

Kick drum - not keen? It’s my usual Steve Slate kick choice of late… :confused:

By the way, on an older version of the song you said:
“Catchy chorus”


Thanks for the feedback fellas! :sunglasses:

I retract my statement about the lacking top end, I think it’s entirely to blame on the encoding. It’s not lacking as such, it’s just warbled.

I think I’ll do what I’ve done in the past, upload to Soundclick and change the link…

Hi Ian

I am kind of opposite to Jet with this one. I’ve listened several times over the last few days. I think the song is good but you haven’t quite nailed it. I can see why it doesn’t go so well live. I do agree with Jet that the anthem type quality of the song lends itself to a more sustained type of vocal, especially in the chorus, than your more ‘spiky’ and rushed style which works well with your material in general. I also felt that the bass needed to pin down the bottom end more on this song to give it the weight and power that the chorus demands.


I’m not really sure where I could actually sing longer notes without it sounding a bit forced, if you know what I mean… perhaps at the end of each stanza?

the bass needed to pin down the bottom end more

Are you meaning from a mix perspective, or more to do with what’s actually being played?

Cheers :sunglasses:

Sorry Ian, I should be more clear. IMVHO you tend to almost throw away the word ‘sympathy’. The closest you get to how it should be is at 2:32. The words leading up in each phrase are fine but ‘Sympathy’ is surely the hook. It is better as the song goes on.

As to the bass, I always enjoy Shane’s playing, but on this tune I do think it could be a bit less busy. I realize this is one of the feature your style and I think it’s cool. However I think this song would benefit from more of an anchor. The busy playing seems to lead to a lack of definition on the low parts too. Maybe that is the encoding. Maybe Jet is right and it’s the song that doesn’t suit you guys as much as some others, but I think it has more potential than as it is now.

Talking of encoding at 3:26 there sounds like a slip on the turn the acoustic guitar plays. I couldn’t decide if it is the playing or the stream but it sounds almost fluffed.

Perhaps I’m talking complete bull*****. :smiley:



I have to say you guys have a good thing going and a lot of good material. Now take this as a positive not a negative and I guess it’s the biggest draw back to self producing. You have so many song I might suggest that you turn up the quality filter knob a bit higher. You should be presenting the best ten or twelve to the world and not every song you record. Choose the songs you would put out on a CD, the ones that go best live might be prime choices I would think. Your online pages would be pretty impressive thin IMHO. Keep the rest back in reserve to maybe be used at a later date for another release if you don’t come up with new songs.

It could well be that the first version of this tune was a better
overall presentation, and I now do recall liking the chorus more than this one.
Memory doesn’t tell me why, sorry.

I think each second delivery of “sympathy” is where the long notes are absent
and the current delivery seems a bit odd to my ears. Yes, as Dave says, like
you miss the power of the word.

As to the kick, it’s not the sound, but the pattern.
From 2:30 or so on it’s a bit constant, and could have greater impact
if it were different. but that’s just my opinion.

Under cans the stream sounds a bit rough, dunno why.

I agree with some of Dave’s other comments re the catalogue
but respect your desire to put a lot of tracks on this album.
We’ve chatted about this and I know your thinking, but I’d
still go for a leaner release. :wink:

Cheers Dave & Jet, I appreciate you taking the extra time. I’m takin’ notes! :smiley:

I’m not sure I could talk Shayne into playing anything different… I think he’s largely inspired by and influenced by ‘Flea’ from Chilli Peppers, hence the style… Having said that, I am guilty of chopping up (simplifying) his bass lines on other tracks :blush:

Kick and vocal, ok points taken, I will revisit those. I might re-sing the whole thing… I suspect after a year or so of live I’m probably delivering somewhat differently to this take anyway, which was actually done when the song was in its infancy.

AND we’re still debating the CD thing. I have done full circle and have now decided on what will probably be a 14-track album release, which will then be reflected on the various websites. The other ‘b-side’ tracks I’ll either hide them away OR on Bandcamp perhaps list them under another ‘album’ of miscellaneous singles. Not that any of it matters of course! :smiley:

One thing I was thinking about was NOT releasing on CD but in order to still satisfy the need for a ‘hard copy’ at gigs I was thinking flash drive might be the way to go…? A mate had a bunch of custom flash drives “burnt” recently - not as cheap as CD but about a billion times the capacity! Though mostly it was empty of course as an album plus sundries only occupies a tiny fraction of an 8gb flash drive! But it would allow us to include our video:


And any other videos I might do between now and… ?