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  1. #1
    Rae is offline
    a golden ball of light Rae's Avatar
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    Nov 2003
    Minneapolis, MN

    Excellent Italian Greyhound, by Shellac of North America

    It's good, let's get that out of the way. Slosh has already pegged this one as hit-and-miss, and while I agree with him that it's uneven, that's actually part of what I like about it. Opener "The End of Radio" is one of my favorite Shellac songs, a live staple of theirs for years (and even lending a name in a roundabout way to my recent summation of math rock in general, A Man Spekith) and sounds every bit as good as it should on record. The band mines quiet tension for all its worth as Albini assumes the role of humanity's last representative in a lone deejay and alternates sardonic asides with desperate screams while the instruments rear their heads in deafening, if occasional, bursts. The next couple of tracks, "Steady As She Goes" and "Be Prepared", are more straightforward and should please any casual Shellac fan, although the band never really rocks in a direct fashion until the closer on side two, "Spoke", which wouldn't sound out of place aside Mclusky or some of Fugazi's less comprehensible moments (who incidentally get a shout-out in "Elephant" on the end of side one). The second side is definitely all over the map, but I pretty much like all of it-- Shellac has never had a prettier moment than the instrumental "Kittypants", and even the album's most challenging track, the 8+ minute mostly spoken-word, stream-of-consciousness, Ken Nordine-graced "Genuine Lullabelle" has a way of worming itself into my brain (I don't think I'll ever find myself murmuring "she knows her way around a cock," but I've already broken into a spontaneous, off-key "I'm the gen-u-ine article" once or twice).

    Anyway, if you know of these guys, you already know whether you'll like this album. If you don't know of them, well, this one isn't the ideal starting point, but then again, it isn't the worst either. It's certainly got some elegant dog photography on the sleeve.

    Oh, and just a note that the LP (the heavy, heavy vinyl LP) does come with a CD of the album tucked inside it, so I'd recommend buying the record even if you do most of yr listening in the car.

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