9/10 Ant Staff review, 01 June 2007The year of our lord Thursday May 31st 2007 AD. A box arrives at Norman HQ from one of our distros. We are fully aware of its contents. We can barely contain the excitement. I start fumbling as I attempt to open the box... I'm in.... Behold in all its glory 'Excellent Italian Greyhound' the new LP from Shellac !!!!
In my teens I was somewhat of a Steve Albini fan boy buying up all the records that bore his illustrious name. I saw Shellac play in London (In 1995 I think). I got the Uranus 7" signed by Albini and was amazed at how much time he had for the fans as he has somewhat of a reputation for being difficult. Bob Weston gave me a beer which I kept for ten years unopened until my mum was clearing out my old room a couple of years ago and persuaded me to throw it in the bin. Yes I really am that much of a sad fucker. You should have seen the horror, the turmoil I was in, when I tore the sticker on the packaging getting into 'Excellent Italian Greyhound'.
As with all Shellac records (this being number 13) aesthetically it's a thing of beauty. The heavy gatefold sleeve has photos of the most gorgeous dog surrounded by fresh vegetables (I hope you're all getting your 5 a day) and comes in a smart little illustrated slip on jacket. Of course it's pressed on the mandatory 180g die black virgin vinyl. Two minutes in and I'm covered in goose bumps... Here are 3 of the most talented musicians on the planet at the height of their game working together with clockwork precision and jaw dropping synchronicity. The sound is pure electricity. You could say that this is rock and roll in it's purest form. The production is pristine, it should be the text book reference for how a guitar, bass and drums should sound in terms of pure quality. The Slint influence is apparent at times (think 'Song Of The Minerals) with a real sense of restraint and both Weston and Albini shareing vocal duties. The raw energy of Rapeman, Big Black etc. is still in there somewhere, although it's been harnessed and controlled. There are some classic Albini trademark black humour lyrics. I wont repeat them because my mam and dad might read this and probably wouldn't be too impressed at her son and fruit of their loins, writing blue language on the interweb.... The relentless repetition of previous album "Terraform' has been exchanged in favor of dare I say, more accessible and mature sounding arrangements. No one pounds the skins like Todd Trainer (with the exception of Dale Crover and Animal).
Its been 7 years since their last long player but as we know these guys are all about quality (plus they have successful recording and engineering careers to be getting on with). While the 15 year old Myspace emo muppets come and go you can rest assured that the output of these guys will stand the test of time. I can recall a moment in my early teens when my dad put on Pink Floyd's 'Darkside of The Moon' with him telling me that "The synthesizers were amazing". I can imagine myself doing a similar thing with this record with my son in years to come. If he looks at me daft I'll put him up for adoption and if he as much as reaches for the sleeve with his grubby little mitts I'll flog him on ebay with free shipping. 9 tracks of analogue heaven come with the highest possible recommendation. On Touch & Go (of course). oMo - Ant x
Oh My God Oh My God Oh My God.... OK Fanboyness aside I was so excited about this Shellac album you've no idea. In fact so was Ant
so we decided to each write a review for it., Albini eh...... But hey it's nice that we can get still get so excited about music. Seriously
the amount of music we hear each week would seriously put a lot of people off music... It's not all good either... Oh no........ Cue
'Excellent Italian Greyhound'.... the fourth LP proper from Shellac which I was extremely excited about (to put it mildly).
We ripped the box open from the distro and admired the packaging which is just incredible. Inside the sleeve is a fantastic sleeve
with a greyhound on surrounded by fruit..... Oh and when we found the bonus CD inside the LP.... that was almost too much to handle...
saves us getting both formats eh. From the off this is a fantastic record. The opener 'The End Of Radio' is Shellac by numbers.
Powerful... kicks ass.... stoppy starty and remarkably cool. The sound is about as meaty as you can get without involving butchers.
There's more beef on this record than a Texas cattle ranch. I've heard it twice now and I completely fucking love it. I have a soft
spot for Albini but no one else on the planet is making anything like this and it's simply brilliant. Todd Trainer's drums are about as
kick ass as ever.... Weston's bass drives along with the drums like a steam roller which is all topped off by Albini's razor like guitar.
It's more like 'At Action Park' than the last 2 albums which pleases me greatly. Some of the songs sound like they're finishing when they're starting and vice versa. It's kind of disconcerting in a way but that only adds to its charm. There's more power and energy on this record than most Yorkshire Electric (and I'm guessing they have a lot...)
Am so pleased there's still great artists like this rising above the sea of disposable mediocrity. This is brilliant. Seriously... just
get it. Maybe to some it's just another Albini record but stay with it and there's some breath taking moments in there. This really is
the best alternative rock music kicking around at the mo.
I remember e mailing Bob Weston to (cheekily) ask him for a copy of The Futurist and he told me to piss off. All is forgiven now Bob....
Mind you I'd still like a copy if you got one there. CDR's are shat- You need this record like your life depends on it. - Phil
10/10 brian dangerhose Customer review,
Seven years. Seven long years waiting for some noo heavy duty krang fest from Chicago's math rock behemoths to land & after witnessing them slay ATP this Spring, i was a little moist at the prospect of dropping the needle. The boys said it in the Norman HQ write ups the best. All i can say is this is twanging , metallic avant punk & so is completely unsurpassable. Todd Trainer is the most heroic drummer in the US underground, Bob Weston's bass grinds & grumbles like a bee caught in Slayers amps & Albini's guitar playing is schizoid off-kilter brutalism as always. The whole thing is a little more streamlined & restrained than before. Dare i say accesible? Yeah this is perfect Shellac. The only band to actually continue the kinda jaw dropping post hardcore dynamic that Fugazi designed the template for & actually make it HARDER). Worth the weight in pedigree dog biscuits alone.
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