Release Date: Nov 9, 2010
Record label: Noise Pollution
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
Fueled by the same Louisville outsider spirit that made Slint a post-rock pioneer in the ’90s, Shipping News has pounded out an arsenal of arresting sonics since its 1996 debut Save Everything. But few of its releases have stomped as aggressively as this fiery new effort, the band’s first since 2005’s atmospheric Flies the Fields. Churning burners like “7s” and “Antebellum” demonstrate guitarists and vocalists Jason Noble and Jeff Mueller’s gift for snarling satire and jagged axe work, as well as drummer Kyle Crabtree and bassist Todd Cook’s skin-tight grooves.
A success as ever... S’been five years since we were last graced with a Shipping News album and in that time they seem to have ditched the ponderous, sprawling postrock of yore and gained a taut sense of urgency. Collecting seven new tracks and two familiar cuts, ‘One Less Heartless To Fear’ was recorded live but if it weren’t for the occasional “whoop!“ or smattering of applause you’d barely believe it.
Shipping News, the primary torch-carriers for the Louisville, KY collective that started with Rodan in the ‘90s, also comprise some of the last men standing in the endangered Rodan-influenced strain of math rock. While not exactly prolific, the quartet of Jeff Mueller (ex-Rodan, June of 44), Jason Noble (Rachel’s, ex-Rodan), Kyle Crabtree, and Todd Cook (both of King’s Daughters & Sons) have been delivering cerebral post-rock free of computers and replete with odd angles and rhythmic upheavals since 1996. Perhaps because they were direct descendents of the scene that would define math rock to come, they had an intuitive feel for the kinds of things that make this music satisfying: seriousness, unpredictability, and a rock-solid group dynamic, to name but three.
In writing music for This American Life, Shipping News has now been a band for more than ten years. Long-lasting relationships and partnerships always rely on some kind of fragile tension and for the dramatic rock they create, the build-up always comes with a timely release. Though the trials and tribulations they’ve gone through as a band seem to be behind them, One Less Heartless to Fear showcases a band that still seems confused on what their true vision is.