This is a review of "Made In The Same City As You" recorded by Unexploded Shells. The review was written by Russell Leeming in 2007.
It’s been a lean time for music lately. I’ve been impressed by stuff, but hardly bowled over at the same time. Every time a good track comes along they don’t seem to be backed up by great albums, for example Klaxons.
Then I look at the music press and am told that Kelly Jones has released a solo album - I’m still waiting for his cocaine years. I’m also feeling very edgy at the prospect that a Gary Lightbody solo album could emerge any minute. I can see it in my mind now; it’s called ‘Your Eyes’ and the cover contains Richard Briers walking a dog along a deserted Weymouth beach.
St John’s Wort it is then.
In the meantime I continue my search for musical treasure. Running my two current favourites Erase Errata and Envelopes close, is/are Unexploded Shells, with their mixture of skewered arrangements and deadpan vocals.
Ahh, the vocals: “If I told you I was sat at home / Listening to my records / And thin-kin of you / Would you be scared… or thrilled.”
The former with a voice like that, for this sounds like the kind of proposition that creates disturbing images of an obsessed neighbour flicking through slides, discreetly taken of the young student resident next door. It’s a cracking tune though, straight from the songbook of former Morrissey tunesmith and guitarist Alain White (think ‘How Can Anybody Possibly Know How I Feel’). Yes, the vocal does take time to warm to, but it oozes confidence and spears the formal indie structure, so for that we should be thankful.
It also ‘pulsates without breaking’… whatever that means? I wrote it down in my original notes so it must be good.
B sides in general are shit. An egotistical chance for tossers like Coldplay to cover an unreleased Trail Of Dead song in the style of King Tubby meets Pixies in order to heighten coolness. Now, technically (why technically?) these HOT NEW Unexploded Shells tracks aren’t b-sides, but they wouldn’t have had seven minute Coopers-esque banger ‘A Room’ as their lead track would they? But by golly captain, we do have a couple of creamers here. I leave you with my notes which will probably say much more than what I could ever put into sentences:
A ROOM: Melancholic, Builds up louder and louder over its seven minutes, Formulaic structure but doesn’t outstay welcome, Coldplay but much more interesting, Tepid but startling.
BRUSH AGAINST MY ARM: Leisure Blur, Playful rhythm.
So there you go. In an era where all you have to do is say a few Nahs and rhyme Asda with Mazda to get a number one single, this demo could be considered a rare treat.
Good work chaps.