Shellac Terraform

[Touch and Go; 1998]

Styles: math rock, indie rock, post-punk, noise rock
Others: 90 Day Men, Nirvana

On the lines of great driving albums, Shellac's Terraform is one of the best...that is if you skip over the first track. Twelve minutes of just two bass notes and the same drum line are enough to put most people in a trance. However, there is so much more to the opening track "Didn't We Deserve a Look at You the Way You Really Are" than the repetitive rhythm section. Most people look past the fact that around 3 minutes, a muted guitar line can be heard. At around 4 minutes, Trainer closes his hi-hat and Albini enters in on guitar again, this time ringing out a simple but sweet guitar line. Also, Weston adds a short variation to the bass line. At around 5 minutes a subtle whine can be heard in the background. All this builds up to a few measures of a heavy riff. After all this it's back to the same repetitive rhythm section. After the 12 minute opening track, "This is a Picture" breaks though with a pulse that would make any heavy metal fan bob his head. Next it's "Disgrace" and "Mouthpiece" with the same aggressive crank. It's at about this point when you wonder how they get their guitars to sound like they're being strummed with aluminum cans. You then realize that both Steve Albini and Bob Weston are accomplished producers and there's no way you'll ever find out anyway because they cover the controls on their amps when they play live shows. So it's back to the music. Other highlights from Terraform are "Canada," Albini's dedication to our neighbor to the north, and "House Full of Shit" where the lyrics are delivered in a sickly kind of sermon...perfect Albini fashion. The closer for Terraform is a tribute to the misunderstood element Copper, which, unfortunately "will never be gold." I suggest purchasing any Shellac album on vinyl because a) the sounds created are amazing and b) both Albini and Weston are adamant about people hearing it in the correct vinyl format.

1. Didn't We Deserve a Look at You the Way...
2. This Is a Picture
3. Disgrace
4. Mouthpiece
5. Canada
6. Rush Job
7. House Full of Garbage
8. Copper

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