It’s been seven barren years since Shellac bothered to release an album and some of us have waited season in, year out since Excellent Italian Greyhound hit the shelves/files sharing/general internet (delete as you use) in 2007.
It has to be said that in that time we’ve endured a lot of industry hurly-burly. The frugal yet fragile Michael Jackson attempted to book a one venue tour and died. Sonic Youth allegedly had an affair and split up. Manic Street Preachers somehow got worse and Fugazi remained on hiatus. Terrible years, just awful.
Now as autumn 2014 hits this end of Britain (recently a couple of percent away from becoming The Rest Of Britain), the leaves are turning to mush, someone will steal an hour of our daylight and we’re all gonna be miserable for a while. Fortunately there is still time to remain upbeat as Dude Incredible has hit the record stores, aka our hard drives.
But why keep us waiting so long? Well, they’re Shellac aren’t they, and they do what they want. If they choose to open a record with a 12-minute track (‘Didn’t We Deserve A Look At You The Way You Really Are?’ Terraform) then they will. If they want to harp on for ten minutes about being “aboard a train covered in cum” (‘Genuine Lulabelle’ – Excellent Italian Greyhound) they can. And if they want to be the best goddamn band in the planet (their back catalogue) then they do have that option available to them.
Anyway, much like the band themselves I digress before I’ve begun. You’re right to laugh at that one as of course it’s a little reference to the ‘start/stop/piss about for a bit’ hallmarks of math rock.
So what about this record? Well, I’d say Dude Incredible is like a fine wine…actually that’s a terrible analogy as they’d more likely present a 250ml glass of jizz (another Shellac-based anecdote).
They are actually like the four seasons. Not the pizza (although they do produce albums in a similar shapes) but our own planet turning on it’s axis. For 365 days a year (366 in the famous leap year) we’ll get rain, wind, sun, droughts, floods, birth, death terrorism, vandalism and hurricanes named after humans. Every year we know what we’ll get and roughly when we’ll hear of it.
Shellac are similar. You’ll get a roughly 35-minute record (forty if it’s an Excellent Italian Greyhound) and songs with big riffs, small riffs, odd timings, songs about jizz, songs about dicks, some riff old, some groove new, something borrowed and something else about jizzing in people. And if you don’t look at a track list it’s hard to guess if a song has ended or if there are more coming (I mean arriving).
Dude Incredible is no different. Shellac won’t change their tune and they’ll probably not do a great deal to truly surprise the record buyers. Overall they’ll do what you expect them to and they’ll do it brilliantly – the riffs, the tone, the beats, grooves and a slightly bizarre world of three oddly difficult chaps playing minimal rock together. This is just what they have come to do and that’s just fine.
‘Fine’ is no understated insult. Perhaps in 2000 you had a great year or an extended period of sun throughout the summer and Shellac released 1000 Hurts. In other years the winter was long and Shellac didn’t even tour. Awful – yes, but as long as future seasons keep changing, the sun shines, crops grow and Shellac write records then everything will be absolutely fine in the end.
If you’re a Shellac fan I can seen no reason why you wouldn’t enjoy Dude Incredible. On the other hand If you’ve not been a subscriber of Shellac’s previous work then this will be about as tasteful to you as a glass of semen.
Words: Loic J. Tuckey