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The Shackeltons

The Shackeltons (Loveless Records)

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With a dual guitar assault, rambunctious rhythms, and fever pitched vocals, the Shackeltons take the punk attitude of the Clash and combine it with shades of garage, grunge, and hard-core for a sound which is familiar and fresh at the same time. The Chambersburg, Penn., quintet of Mark Redding (vocals), Eric Fisak (guitar), Justin McDaniel (bass), Daniel Schuchman (guitar), and Sean Hallock (drums) has held on tightly to their indie roots and has not wavered from their original game-plan of creating a rough and organic timbre which is completely accessible. 

The band had already made their presence known throughout the country by way of relentless touring and established themselves as a kick ass live act when they caught the ears of the Seattle-based record label, Loveless Records.  In February of 2007 the Pennsylvania rockers were the first band to be signed to the small label in almost two years and immediately went to work on their debut. Partnering with documentary film maker Sam Jones, who’s critically acclaimed documentary “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart” captured the band Wilco struggles while recording Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, Loveless was committed to capturing the energy of a Shackeltons’ live performance with sparse but accomplished production. With Jones behind the boards, the Shackeltons self-titled debut exceeds all expectations and offers listeners a glimpse of the band’s power. 

The eleven-track disc is a barn burner from the first cut.  With a brooding bass line, the record opens with “Your Movement.” The slow moving groove of the intro quickly explodes into a wash of intense guitar licks and crashing snare and cymbals.    Lyrically, the band isn’t complex, but rather they rely on the passionate vocals of Redding as he bleeds all over the studio.  Tracks such as “The Blood” and “The Ship” only have four lines, but they make up for the lack of wordage with musical intensity.   If you haven’t had enough by the half-way mark, “The Breaks” will take you on a sonic journey back to the days of 80’s punk with slight tempo changes and intricate guitar work.  The disc ends with the Joy Division-esque “Get Out” which leaves you wanting more.

By combining past influences with a 21st century spin, the Shackeltons are one of the most exciting things to happen in the world of Indie rock in a long time. Check out their self-titled CD Jan. 29 at your favorite outlet.

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