Home > News & Reviews > Shellac

Shellac - To All Trains (Album Review)

Tuesday, 21 May 2024 Written by Tom Morgan

Photo: Daniel Bergeron

We tend to become needlessly philosophical whenever a beloved musician dies just before releasing new music, joining dots in a manner that amounts to pareidolia — the human instinct to find meaning in the random. Sure, David Bowie famously made some allusions to his death on ‘Blackstar’, but that was the exception that proves the rule.

But while listening to ‘To All Trains’, presumably the final album released by Steve Albini’s Shellac, it is hard not to view the work through the prism of his unexpected death, particularly with track titles such as I Don’t Fear Hell, or lyrics like Wednesday’s “so remember him as he was/hail and strong/would never run from a fight”.

Again, though, that’s just our desire to detect patterns amid chaos. And what beautiful chaos this album is.

Shellac’s sixth studio effort is a glorious collection of their patented minimalist rock; an absurdist delight that  serves as a fitting final testament to Albini’s razor sharp and bleaky funny worldview.

There’s not a single dull lyric here, even when Albini is spitting out absurdist non-sequiturs. Tattoos, and its telling of “ghosts chasing you in your truck”, is a highlight, as is the hilarious Scabby The Rat, a Melvins-esque digression about a character who “makes the whole room pregnant”.

Given that this is likely the last Albini-recorded album we’ll ever hear, how wonderful that it also provides ample serrated guitar tones and booming drums. Scrappers’ metallic chords could cut glass, while Wednesday’s dry-yet-monstrous drums will grind that glass into a million grains of sand.

Immense fun, the economical, witty and visceral ‘To All Trains’ serves an adroit end note to the career and life of one of modern music’s most singularly-brilliant figures.


We don't run any advertising! Our editorial content is solely funded by lovely people like yourself using Stereoboard's listings when buying tickets for live events. To keep supporting us, next time you're looking for concert, festival, sport or theatre tickets, please search for "Stereoboard". It costs you nothing, you may find a better price than the usual outlets, and save yourself from waiting in an endless queue on Friday mornings as we list ALL available sellers!

Let Us Know Your Thoughts

Related News

Thu 21 Mar 2024
Shellac Announce First Album In 10 Years 'To All Trains' And Summer UK Shows
< Prev   Next >