Music Reviews
Excellent Italian Greyhound

Shellac Excellent Italian Greyhound

(Touch & Go) Rating - 8/10

Shellac is a band that truly exists in a vacuum. There are many reasons for this but it seems to me that it's primarily because its fearless leader, Steve Albini, doesn't need Shellac nearly as much as its devoted fans do. Like Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men, we need Albini "on that wall" to protect the last bastion of indie rock that will never appear in a Zach Braff movie or be bastardized in a car commercial. Mostly, though, we need him as living proof that just because you're white, nerdy, and pissed, it doesn't mean you can't make kick-ass records.

On Excellent Italian Greyhound, only the band's second release of the decade, the sound remains unmistakably Shellac: guttural, sarcastic, and chock-full of anger. On second thought, perhaps the real reason Shellac is impervious to criticism that they seem content to put out the same record every five years. To Shellac fans, this is just reinforces the notion that these guy are above current trends and care little about selling a product. That said, this is not the strongest of their four full-length albums. Tracks like "Kittypants" and "Spoke" sound more like Pixies outtakes and frankly make you wonder if they're really two of the best nine songs that band could put together in seven years. "Genuine Lulabelle" clocks in at 9:17, a good chunk of which consists of Albini's semi-drunken rants ("Everybody haaaard"). I was actually surprised such a creepy, indulgent moment took so long to surface on a Shellac record, so in a way, it was kind of refreshing. From the joyously sarcastic opener "The End of Radio", the ominous "Paco" , and the nifty guitar work on "Be Prepared", the rest of the album delivers that great punch-in the-gut we've come to expect from the trio.

But let's face it, by now either you celebrate the band's full catalogue, or you'll never even know they exist. But then again, if you're even bothering to read a Shellac review, you're probably a newbie. If that's the case, go to your local vinyl monger (the CD is astutely included in LP jacket) and pick it up if only to giggle at the perfectly ridiculous cover art.