Shellac - 2014
Sometimes you just need a straight forward indie-rock album to cleanse your pallet. Shellac is the type of band to be up to that task, and Dude Incredible mostly accomplishes that. For those not in the know, Shellac is a trio from Chicago that includes Steve Albini on guitars and vocals. In case you don’t know, Albini is responsible for engineering/producing classic indie rock albums from The Pixies, Nirvana, The Breeders, Etc. and was a founding member of Big Black. Big Black was my first exposure to him, although I didn’t know it at the time. My first Shellac experience was with At Action Park, which I recently discovered that I’ve lost. Dammit!
Shellac’s sound is minimal as far as overdubs, but complex in song structure. A trademark of Albini’s sound is the way he mics drums. I don’t know what he does specifically, but when you listen to Dude Incredible you can clearly hear In Utero in the drum sound. The band sounds tight throughout the album, as their songs bob and weave from point A to point B. Albini’s guitar riffs are snaky. That’s not a technical term of course, but I think you understand what I mean when I say it. (There’s the the funky hammer-on/pull-off riffs of “Mayor/Surveyor” or the staccato brutality of “The People’s Microphone” as a couple of examples)
Lyrically there’s not much to write home about. A lot of the songs center around protesting against something or another. The lyrics tend to be a bit ridiculous in an intentional way on much of the album. “All The Surveyors” has an intro that sounds like a Monty Python sketch, featuring the whole band singing together, "Who walks the king’s road? Who fears the king? Fuck the king!" The album opener and title track jumps right in with a song written from the perspective of a monkey in heat:
“Oh, my brothers and oh, my other comrades
Let’s leave this place directly
And go where the females congregate
Perhaps they’ll let us fuck them
And on the way, we’ll have adventure”
See….ridiculous. Not that I’m complaining. I like a good monkey fornication song as much as the next guy. Really, I don’t need anything more than that from Shellac. Gimme snaky riffage and monkey songs and I’m pretty happy.
P.S. Album cover of the year
Posted by Tambe