If you can make it through the first 12 minute minimalist marathon track, you will hear a strong album. The opening track, "Didn't We Deserve A Look At You The Way You Really Are" is a 12 minute dirge. It's a repetitive bass line that when listened to for a good length of time can lead to hypnosis. Albini's hushed lyrics add a sorta secretive feel to the song. Like a war-time march it trudges forward slowly but keeps an on-going pace. The next track is awesome. "This Is A Picture" is a great song. With the good solid bass structure from Rob Weston on bass, and the impressive drumming of Todd Trainer the song moves much faster than the opening track. And the high pitched, heavily distorted guitar of Steve Albini make the contrast of sounds slap you in the face and carry you along with it's beat. The ending of the song is nice when it breaks into a very melodic moment and a nice sliding bass line.
The rest of the album moves rather quickly. "Mouthpiece" is a highlight of the album. A nice song where Weston does backup vocals and adds to the contrast of Shellac's music. "Canada" is an awesome number. It goes through a few changes which is rare for a Shellac song. It has a nice build up at the end and is a great shining moment in the album. "House Full Of Garbage" is the best song on the album. It's a slow minimalist dirge with a clear message in the lyrics, and you can feel it gathering strength until the end when it hits the breaking point, and stops. Then it kicks into "Copper" which is an almost punk song in which Albini sings "Copper...will never be gold" then it breaks into a heavily distorted, feedback laden ending of the song and the album. Leaving a squeal in your ears.
I highly recommend giving this album a listen. It's powerful, and has some fine musicians on it. It pulls you all over with Albini's lyrics and guitar, but keeps you right there with the steady rhythm of Trainer and Weston. A great album from a great band. A definite must buy.
Samuel Barker is Senior Editor. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.