We got Lee Vincent from Pulled Apart By Horses to tell us all about his favourite album of the decade as we steeped ourselves in yet more nostalgia…
My first two thoughts I had when asked to choose my favourite album of the decade were At Action Park by Shellac and the Iron Monkey debut album. Then I realised that they were both made in the 90s. My grasp of time is really quite bad. So I was overjoyed when I found out that 1000 Hurts by Shellac was made but 7 months into the year 2000 making it eligible for this accolade (although I’m sure you really don’t care what music I like and dislike!).
Shellac are one of those acts who have had a huge impact on my musical life. 1000 Hurts was the first album I heard by them and it is the most genuinely bitter, hateful album I think i’ve ever heard. It is far heavier than 99% of metal and there isn’t a distortion pedal in sight. I’m afraid I’ll probably come across as a big old sycophant in my praise for this band, but I don’t care, I think they’re perfect. The guitar tones, the sparse vocals, the painfully honest lyrics, THOSE drums.
Some of the album’s lyrical content (particularly opener ‘Prayer To God’, ‘Canaveral’ and ‘Watch Song’) deals completely unapologetically with singer/guitarist Steve Albini’s wife’s infidelity against him. I won’t quote all the lyrics here, but Google ‘Prayer To God’ and tell me if theres a more openly (genuinely) hateful song than that.
Aside from the frankly amazing songs on this album (and all their others, except the 2nd side of their latest album, but we won’t talk about that) and their Black Flag-esque integrity, the thing I love about all Shellac albums is that you know that what you are hearing is exactly what the band want you to hear. You get the feeling that nothing is by accident. Admittedly a lot of this is probably down to the fact that Albini and bassist/vocalist Bob Weston are both highly respected producers, but the sound of control is incredibly impressive. The guitar tones and sounds you hear are EXACTLY what Albini wants you to hear, ditto with bass, drums and vocals.
I really can’t say much more about this incredible album without waffling, so all I can say is that if you are a fan of aggressive, abrasive yet intelligent and thoughtful music and haven’t yet listened to 1000 Hurts… shame on you. Go and buy this and all Shellac’s other albums immediately.