FACTS!This is Shellac’s fifth LP following Axtion Park, Terraform, 1000 Hurts and Excellent Italian Greyhound. The recording took place sporadically over the past few years at Steve's ELECTRICAL AUDIO studios in Chicago.
The record was mastered by Steve Rooke at ABBEY ROAD. There is no comma in ‘Dude Incredible’; like Sir Duke or King Friday, for example.
Both the CD and LP version of Dude Incredible come packaged in a chipboard album jacket with two high gloss, full color monkeys on the front cover. The LP includes a CD of the full album.
Audio quality is paramount, as always, with Shellac. The LP was mastered entirely in the analog domain, using the DMM (Direct Metal Mastering) process. The LPs are being manufactured at RTI in Camarillo, CA, using their HQ-180 system. The pressings are 180 gram audiophile quality.
Vinyl LP £20.99 TG404LP
180g vinyl LP + CD on Touch and Go.
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CD £10.99 TG404CD
CD on Touch and Go.
- Shipping cost: £1.05 ?
Now then, new Shellac album. Alright!
Bob, Todd and Steve are still releasing records in an archaic yet highly enjoyable fuck you music industry/fuck you internet fashion, proving time and time again that it's possible to sell records in a saturated and totally fucked marketplace as long you're savvy enough to turn up with a quality product. Guess it kinda helps if you're not expected to deliver a new record every year. There's no promo copies, no pre-release reviews or Soundcloud previews (in fact there's almost no internet presence at all) and, the clincher, they've honed the tracks live as opposed to fabricating them in a studio then taking them "out on the road". All music industry no-no's. On the flip-side there's the usual high standard of production and manufacturing we've come to expect from the group and you still get the impression that they're taking the process seriously...though not too seriously, as exemplified in the amazing monkey chucking monkey sleeve art. So, concentrating on the right aspects…very reassuring.
If you've seen the band live in the last five or six years (and you're the observant type) you'll be familiar with the track-listing, in fact, I found myself singing along to songs I've only heard a handful of times in fields, grim Pontins halls and long stretches of tarmac. I won't go into the specifics of each track (I'm sure they'll be a slew of album analysis style reviews coming your way as of next week or so) or bore you with fawning praise (yes, they're a fave of mine. I'd go as far as calling them the last great rock band still doing the rounds) but I'll give you a gist of what to expect.
'Dude Incredible' is packed with the trademarks you'd associate with a Shellac record; excellent lively production, buried vocals (especially in Steve's case), super disciplined rhythms, great isolated drum rolls, an almost sickeningly good bass and guitar tone, brooding mid-tempo deliveries and songs that sound a little like sea shanties. It lacks the physical attack and emotional bite of the first three albums and tends to be playful and vibe'd out in much the same way as (the highly underrated) 'Excellent Italian Greyhound'. They're still experimenting with arrangements and ideas (both as musicians and engineers) implying that they continue to get a kick out of the creative process, which again, is reassuring.
The Bob fronted tracks and instrumentals (especially album highlight 'The People's Microphone' that funnily enough sounds like Shellac proteges That Fucking Tank...the irony) are holding up best on first listen with Steve's pirate songs not quite hitting the the dizzy heights of say 'Squirrel Song' or 'Doris'. In conclusion, it's a familiar and comfortable listen, lacking new challenges but satisfying based on a tried and tested template that has seen the trio right since their inception.
I miss rock music. I don't mean the soulless, produced to within an inch of it's life, QOTSA/Foo Fighters/Biffy Clyro/Royal Blood variant or the crappy neo-psych flooding the magazines, blogs and record racks of your local (probably) independent music shops, I'm talking about rock music that cherishes character and conviction with a truly independent spirit. So, for that reason alone, I'll happily take a by numbers Shellac LP. Embrace it. Things aint going to improve any time soon so lets not take Todd, Steve and Bob for granted.
9/10 Cesar Marfitani R. 4th May 2015
When this great band Shellac came to my country Chile, almost could not believe it, do not hesitate to buy into his show to check that everything he had heard was not the product of machines or simply a rehearsal room, but It was the product of a real and pure sound. Indeed, I had no doubt the sound of Shellac as a whole is overwhelming, a wall of riffts, bass and drums, becoming along their tracks in individual starring elements, while as part of a larger composition.
"Dude Incredible" is not far behind, it is remarkable the ability of this band to make the instruments to achieve different character in each of his chords, while it is able to generate a whole atmosphere of chaos in an environment clearly controlled . The a-sync unpredictable rhythms make most of their songs, which is for me the latter, the most important feature of this great band. Great record.
10/10 Noel Taylor 7th January 2015
As always with anything Shellac/Albini, they have delivered again, i think this album is literally @dude, incredible'!!, i love it, i always love the way Steve Albini records and produces, especially on the Shellac stuff i am a big fan of the stark, yet massive sound he seems to be able to magically generate, i think the man is a genius, and the band are timeless, and this hasn't left the turntable much since arriving from Norman Records, great service by the way guys!!
8/10 Penrith Steve 7th October 2014
Most people will agree that Shellac's debut LP At Action Park is their best. It is most certainly what I think. The albums that followed left me a bit cold in comparrison, if I'm honest and I stopped paying attention. I thought, however, that I'd give Dude Incredible a punt (mainly because the cover was made of the same card as At Action Park, as good a reason as any!) and I'm glad I did. The Shellac trademarks are all there: perfectly recorded and engineered and tight, well-rehearsed band that you could set your watch by. The LP itself and the packaging, as opined in an earlier review, are of a high standard too.
The opener and title track, Dude Incredible, is the album's finest moment - heavy, mid-tempo, metronomic riff that breaks into a Jason Lowenstein's Sebadoh-esque rock-out. The high-class riffage continues on track two, Compliant, with Bob Weston and Todd Trainer keeping things tight. As I mentioned earlier - you could set your watch by this band and with the tick-tock style riff of Riding Bikes, I might just be tempted.
All The Surveyors is another Shellac classic in the making with the stabbing guitars that so appealed on At Action Park. Gary is probably the album's weak point and the last couple of tracks aren't quite up to the standard of the rest of the album. However, despite the negatives, I think the album is good enough to warrant an 8/10.
7/10 Mex Mexico 15th September 2014
This is not the best Shellac LP. It's not the unstoppable force. It's not the difficult album.
What it is is very much a Bob Weston album. This is not a bad thing, its just perhaps not what you might have ordered when walking to the bar.
I don't live in London and therefore I am not familiar with the songs. I was slightly familiar with the title track as I spent forever searching for it over the last seven years.
So where do we go from here?
Its very bass heavy. It has more traditional guitar sounds than you might expect. It has comedy and sea shanties and instrumentals. It is a Shellac album.
If it were not a Shellac album it might not sell quite so well. It could perhaps be overlooked.
So here is your sat nav. It is currently finding your location.
Dude Incredible - This is what you came here for. Great and then falls to pieces.
Compliant - the first Bob song. Not as good as Elephant. Turns into Wingwalker at the end which makes you want to listen to Wingwalker.
You Came in me - a song about fucking that is not as good as anything on Songs about Fucking.
Riding Bikes - THIS is the one I think. This is the End of Radio. This is the one that will grow on you. The Genuine Article.
All the Surveyors - Comedy opening, gets a lot better.
The Peoples Microphone - Instrumental. It's ok. Some peoples favourite song on the album. Not mine.
Gary - This is another one that could be a grower or it could just be something that sits there on Side Two. Ask me again in 2021.
Mayor / Surveyor - A great guitar riff repeated in a minute or so. This is where Spoke or Copper should be.
Surveyor - This would have benefitted from Albini singing it. It's a Shellac song alright and possibly a great one but it doesn't play to Bob's strengths.
It also has the worst cover / packaging of all the Shellac LP's. The free CD is unmarked and sounds ok.
I perhaps need to live with it a bit more. Perhaps in time it will become my favourite thing. It is like everything apart from At Action Park. A couple of great songs. A bit of mucking about. A bit of experimenting. All good.
7 Fucking Stars.
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