Fondly assembled indie rock in slightly slackery vein. Shelf Life is the solo project of Scotty Leitch, a veteran recording engineer and the drummer for Alex G. Everyone Make Happy is his debut under the name, and is warm and lovely way to make an introduction. Released by the Lefse label, with very sweet cover artwork.
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- Everyone Make Happy by Shelf Life
7/10 Robin Staff review, 23 September 2015
Look, we all gotta release an album, okay? I personally have been bartering with labels and am excited to announce my forthcoming debut on Merge (call me when you see this, Mac McCaughan), which in my opinion is no stranger than the dude from Alex G releasing a record. This is an album of indie rock lite, warped and wrecked in the Alex G way -- it was actually made by his drummer, though, one Scotty Leitch. ‘Everyone Make Happy’ sounds more like an acoustic Sebadoh than Lou Barlow does when he goes acoustic.
In fine homage to their sibling band, Shelf Life create modestly touching tunes, predicating their melancholic mantras on half-heartedly plucked guitars before introducing under-the-weather drums and whatever else a song can afford: an extra vocal, a wiry violin, an instrumental segment? You got it, sometimes. This record wavers between different ideas and uses each one quick. Like an old-school indie rock crew who kinda forget they’re creating halfway through the creation, Leitch’s band often strike gold when nothing’s happening, as on the dislocated riff of “Low Key Lumber Theft”, which comes in urgent before losing control of itself. It’s Real Estate from the gutter.
Fans of debris-style indie rock, a grimy mantle now reclaimed by Alex G himself, will love these slowburns: there are moments where Leitch snaps out of it and offers a real good sad song, like “Double Dare”, whose same-word rhymes sound both seamless and strangely overwrought (“meet me at the mall later on / I’ll have my new Slayer shirt on”). It's sorta-emotive pop with ambiguous impact, the lower-case "lol" of indie rock.
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