If an album is called "1000 Hurts" it's pretty logical to assume that you'll be up hearing some earsplittering nonsense. That's exactly what Steve Albini and his friends are giving you with this album. Shellac is not a band that likes to mix it up or put icings on cakes. They want to attack you. They want to kill you, ***ing kill you, and they don't care if that hurts. Head man Steve Albini has done his signature production magic with bands such as The Pixies, PJ Harvey and The Jesus Lizard, so it's logical that he also practitions that with his own bands. The raw, rough edged production however doesn't keep the sound of his guitar from being razorsharp. Despite the bands dark, low tuned and empty sound...it's Albini's nonsensical lyrics that really makes Shellac the cool band that they are.
1. Prayer To God
"To the one true Goid above here is my prayer. Not the first you've heard, but the first I wrote". Albini speaks, leashing out his guitar chords melody. In this song, he seems to ask God to kill is ex girlfiend and the man who (perhaps") she cheated him with. The entire track through Steve keeps playing those chords with the drums putting an accent when he screams "Kill them, ***ing kill them!". Pretty psychotic. But funny. "I wanted to fuckin' kill him but first make him cry like a woman...no particular woman." :rolleyes:
2. Squirrel Song
"This is a sad ***in' song. I'll be lucky if I don't bust out crying." The menacing stomp of Squirrel Song is anything but tearjerking. It's a very aggressive song, where Steve's lowtuned guitar plays in synch with a very heavily played drum beat that consists of a cool pattern. The bass really make this song, and is the only thing that sorta resembles a melody. Steve kinda utters "how does it feel" when the song fires it's sonic assault when the bassline comes in. Their is a very cool midsection with great tom based drumming and a riff the bass and guitars play in synch. After that, Steve plays a strange guitar lick also played in the intro, announcing the songs heavy climax. I love it when Steve sneers 'And there were thou-Sands! and the song returns to it's stomping ways. The song itself is pretty darn amazing...one of Shellacs best.
3. Mama Gina
This song starts out very hollow, even for a Shellac song. It's starts very slow paced, with Steve playing very good guitar melodies. The bass very lightly comes in barely noticable really. Eventualy the bass crawls out of it's hole like a spider on the hunt. Steve sings with a very sad tone, kinda as if he is holding back his anger. The bass slithers very softly in the background. So very suddenly, a wall of guitar riffage explodes into the scene, and the song becomes more fast paced. It then seems to burn out in a wall of sound like a match.
This instrumental has a pretty darn cool intro...it's almost as if the music is trying to climb across this agonizing wall of sound and fall flat on it's face. Steve eventually succeeds with a very simple, haunting guitar melody. Right after the drums start this amazingly cool bassline rides in like a dark horse. Shellac is great in working different parts of the music in one whole, to make the song sound interesting, The song becomes slightly heavier later on with Steve fueling the bass with very percussive guitar playing. Despite the songs repetition, anything but boring.
Quite possibly the most melodic song on this album. It starts in a slower pace again, and later ends in a faster pace. After the cool little intro sequence Steve plays these awkward out of tune chords as he starts to sing. The drums or pretty menacing and heavy here. I like how the different parts flow together in the song. The song kinda turns into a punk song...Shellac style o' course, with some cool cutting rythm playing by Steve.
6. Song Against Itself
A totally cool song, with Steve playing some very trippy solo stuff over the bassline. Steve sounds totally insane and indifferent as he sings "This Is the song against itself"...he sings this in a very dull way, as if he doesn't care about anything anymore. The lyrics are funny, he even suggest "what in the world I'm talking about. it follows through. You have no clue!". Just a really funny, more accessible song...it's quite catchy..probably as catchy as Shellac can get!
One of my favorite Shellac songs...it has everything a good Shellac song needs. It's fast paced, with Steve's bland and dry vocals giving the song a cold, empty feel. In the second verse the drums become a bit more sophisticated and the bass becomes a bit bolder. I totally love the guitar solo in this song...it just fits great. And the lyrics are some of Albini's best.
8. New Number Order
"We all know the numbers right" From zero to...infinity. Whatever." A very cool filler track...great nonsense. What else can i say"
9. Shoe Song
Starts with Albini seemingly playing directionless guitar fingerpicking...but when the drums come in, it actually works together. The fingerpicking serves more of looming background noise for the overly simplistic and static guitars. Whe the mumbling vocals come in however, the guitar drive goes in a lower tunes progression which sounds pretty cool. The lightly distorted riffage around 3:15 minutes sounds sinister and evil. There is some pretty cool drumming. Steve sreams "I miss you", almost desperate seemingly trying to reach his voice over the wall of distorted guitars. We've heard that one before in the land of spiders.
10. Watch Song
A very good closer, with some good guitar riffage and intense drumming. It sounds like jam track with alot of unexpected twists. All the instruments balance each other out well, like in most Shellac songs. Steve seems to emptiy his bag of tricks in this track....with some of the most interesting guitar playing I've heard. Around 4 minutes, a riff comes in that sounds similair of the one in the Squirrel Song bridge. A very cool, listen...probably the most progressive song in this album.
With Shellac, it's evident that they are a band that are good at what they do. This album is great because despite the fact that the songs are similair in nature, each song is still very distinct on their own. Albini is one of the few who has managed to create a distuingished sound, without using any fancy production tricky. This is a very intruiging listen.
Song Against Itself