Shellac - Uranus

Album: Uranus
Artist: Shellac
Released: 1993
Rating: 4.5/5

Shellac is Steve Albini's current band, featuring Albini on guitar and vocals, Bob Weston on bass, and Todd Trainer on drums. Uranus was their second single (after "The Rude Gesture: A Pictorial History"), and remains a high water mark for the band. Uranus was originally a limited-release vinyl only single, and the digital hating Albini has made it clear that he has no plans to release Shellac's early singles on CD (I had to use a USB turntable to get it on my computer), so grab it while you can.

There are only two tracks on Uranus, but both of them are incredibly strong. The first, "Doris", is a somewhat math-rock-ish love song, with all the instruments angrily interlocking and building distortion before suddenly bursting as Albini screams. Everyone is very focused and tense here, giving even more force to the violent explosions that punctuate the song. Albini's lyrics are as dark as usual. For example:

"miracles happen when Doris sings,
couples in love stop dead in their tracks,
dishes clatter to the ground unbroken,
politicians die"

The other song, "Wingwalker", is just as good, and finds the band cutting loose a little more. The rhythm is a little more off kilter and everything is held in place by a rumbling two-note bass line. On top of this Albini slashes and scrapes away with his guitar, talking about "a girl of the skies" and screaming "I'm a plane!" at the top of his lungs. Best of all is his deranged rant 3:15 in.

Dl now.