[29 January 2008]
The Shackeltons are five heart-on-their-sleeve boys from Chambersburg, PA who have discovered how to convey raw feelings without riding the emo bus. With a lean, two-guitar attack and stark production values, these guys sound like late 1980s US punk before it got swallowed by grunge or mellowed into indie rock. Ironically, the Shackeltons possess a modern sound by virtue of also borrowing a bit from early ‘80s post-punk. The band tosses in some stripped-down garage rock vibes, to boot. The result is something like if Interpol and pre-Doolittle Pixies were to merge. Only The Shackeltons aren’t as lyrically elliptical as either of those bands. Mark Redding isn’t trying to hide his feelings when he sing-shouts, “The sea of love / Is going to be cold” or “You tear my heart in two / But I will always offer you more”. He’s a very convincing singer, and his bandmates are also quite persuasive, tearing into their songs with equal amounts of abandon and skill. On occasion, music and words explode into melodrama. Ah, but they’re young and impassioned, so we’ll let the Shackeltons emote a little too much here on their self-titled debut (again, at least they’re not emo). They’ll likely gain focus over the next couple of years and become an even greater force to be reckoned with.