Three and a half years is a long time between albums, especially for indie rock bands, but Steve Albini and Bob Weston were busy with their respective production careers. The opening track on Terraform is a ten-minute dirge with a repetitive riff. The album goes up from there. Much of it was recorded at the Beatles' Abbey Road Studios.
- Release Date:
- Touch & Go Records
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Let's start with the obvious: don't expect Shellac's "Terraform" to be an easily likable album just because some of it was recorded at the Beatles' headquarters of Abbey Road Studios (chuckle). But seriously though, "Terraform" is where some more easily put-off Albini fans started complaining and it's not really surprising. I happen to like the album and feel it is Shellac's most underrated, but I'd be lying through my teeth if I said this was as accessible as "At Action Park." It's for hardcore Albini fans, plain and simple. The first track is a twelve-minute, mind-numbing bass riff in 3/4 time, with occassional lyrics sprinkled in. I'm not going to say it rewards patience, because it doesn't, but you just have to take it for what it is. The piece is as atmospheric as minamalism can be and it does create an interesting, somber mood. It's Shellac being willfully difficult, and if you don't like such an idea, you're listening to the wrong band, believe me. Most people complain about this song the most, and some just think the other songs are also too hard to get into. Maybe it's because "Terraform" is loaded with even more weird time signatures than "At Action Park." Parts of "This is a Picture" and "Disgrace" are in 3/4 time, Mouthpiece is in 7/4 time (I think), and "Canada" is a complete waltz, being in 3/4 time completely. I for one think "Canada" is the best song on the album because it's in a non-4/4 time and yet it still rocks in a unique, cool way. But it probably will take a little getting used to for most. Also off-putting at first are the random starts and stops, as in "Disgrace," while the song is in high gear, or the purposefully awkward beginning of "Rush Job." With time, I got used to these weird moments, and now I honestly like the album. If you hear it, be willing to give it time.