I’m sitting here listening to the upcoming new Shellac record. Don’t ask me how. I have my sources. ;) And I thought I’d dash off a little review.
On several of the tracks on Excellent Italian Greyhound, Shellac works the dramatic monologue thing they started with “Mama Gina,” from their previous LP 1000 Hurts. They pull it off a bit better this time around; the opening track “The End Of Radio” may be somewhat cringe-worthy for driving the tiresome catchphrase “can you hear me now?” into the ground, but its apocalyptic concept manages to reel me in by the end. The more traditionally song-oriented material is some of the catchiest stuff Shellac has put together since their debut, calling to mind the likes of Gang Of Four, Unwound, and even The Minutemen at various points. The disturbing/funny centerpiece “Genuine Lulabelle” gets major smile points for a cameo appearance by none other than cartoon Internet celebrity Strong Bad. Overall, while Shellac is still a band that revels in trying the listener’s patience (as their TG25 performance, from which I recognized some of the material here, illustrated for me once and for all), this new record manages for the most part to dodge most of the pain points that dragged down certain parts of their previous two offerings. I was already excited for a new Shellac release, and having had a chance to give it a preview, I’m now even more excited knowing that it’s apparently quite good.