Reviews Shell Shag Forever

Shell Shag


Shell Shag put it all on the line in opener “Face to Face.” It’s an autobiographical song, about the two-piece band, their y-shaped microphone, and their art and their travels. When the record continues into the second track “Sweet Hoodie,” there’s a feeling that recalls 1980s pop, but the honesty overrides the hokiness of some of the reference material. Okay, maybe that’s guilt by association as their previous record Fuck Society was a covers record that pulled from many forgotten 1980s high school dances. There’s a bleed through in sound, which is expected as the band made each song their own on said previous release. Closer “Dots in Rhyme” serving as an example. 

The record as a whole mostly moved beyond the covers, though “Medley” revisits moments from that record and somewhat interrupts the flow it has going for it at that just-over-midway point. It’s hard to fault anything that grabs from one of my favorite Toys That Kill songs, but the 3-minute song really does interrupt the flow, even if it adds some upbeat tempo in the process. Consider it an intermission. Otherwise, the record goes for midtempo back and forth between the two players. There are more personal songs like the aforementioned, and the somber “I Love You,” which has some John K. Samson-nasalese to the delivery and builds into a bouncy indie-pop jam. The tone is personal and not political, to the point where the line “The man along at the podium/ says that he can fix all your problems/ Says with a grin, if you vote for him/ He’s even going to tell you who caused them/ I say bullshit bullshit bullshit…” stands out in “Driving Song” as almost out of place.

The dominant tone of the record is reminiscent of the first two songs or, examples from later on the LP such as “Destroy Me I’m Yours,” “Driving Song,” or “Wasted Imagination.” It’s not a record of singles, but of a single, connected tone. The songs and the duo as a whole play off one another and—while I’m hesitant to say it due to the pejorative tone of the word, which is not my intention—have a cute air. They are largely about the duo singing the songs, their band, and their growth. Closer “Dots in Rhyme” is intimate and minimal, and isolated from a live show it has an almost synthesizer feel to it as its run through various effects. It does serve nicely to bring the album full circle to the ideas presented in “Face to Face.” Recommended for fans of two-piece bands with a lot of harmonies, mid-tempo songs, and rough-around-the-edges moments. Punk rock love.

7.1 / 10Loren
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7.1 / 10

7.1 / 10

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