Shellac – 1000 Hurts (Touch & Go) 2000


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Albini has been releasing albums as Shellac for 15 years. Not exactly a prolific band, 1000 Hurts was their third record on Touch & Go before entering a lengthy hiatus. There is a lot here to love. I read somewhere that  the basis of Albini’s take on rock music is an amalgam of mid-Western hardcore and british post punk. That description is a bit simplistic but OK as a starting point. 1000 Hurts begins with the almighty Prayer to God which may be on the more unsettling songs he’s ever written. Basically a plea to God to kill his girlfriend (gently) and her new lover (as messily as possible) it is a prefect  blend of the sick, black  humour that has defined much of Albini’s work since his Big Black days. The second track Squirrel Song is my favorite thing here. Again Albini shows he doesn’t take himself too seriously, yet both tracks showcase Albini’s lacerating guitar and the pummeling driving bass and drums which define their sound. But after those two tracks things start becoming a bit stranger. Mama Gina has it’s moments but it drags down the momentum and certainly not my favourite thing here. In fact the tracks are all over the place. Those looking for the consistency of the  records he released as part of Rapeman or Big Black will have a tougher time with Shellac. Christ he even attempts to sing on Ghosts. Yet this is one of the great things about Shellac , you’re never sure what your going to get from one album to the next and although there are heaps of similarities between all of Albini’s work, Shellac produce a much more consistently rock record. Take the sixth  track Song Against Itself, as soon as I played it I started thinking of a pop infused Minutemen via Jesus Lizard.  It’s great even if it doesn’t feature Albini’s vocals. By track seven Albini returns to his favourite persona as a vengeful husband/boyfriend. On Canaveral he suggests shooting the fellow  who “put his dick in my wife” into space where he would then explode to create fertilizer in China. All in all this is a great rock record to get your teeth into. Some might complain that as an album it’s a bit inconsistent, but I reckon that’s part of it’s charm.

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