The Shell Corporation - Force Majeure (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Shell Corporation

Force Majeure (2011)

Death To False Hope

The Shell Corporation's Force Majeure serves as an interesting nexus between '90s skatepunk and the hard rocking post-hardcore that typified Hot Water Music's tenure at Epitaph; retaining the fast drum beats and soaring whoa-ohs of the former and the intertwining guitars and self-reflection of the latter. I've heard similar things attributed A Wilhelm Scream before but it isn't something I'd say is immediately evident like it is on Force Majeure. Should Shell Corporation be persecuted for their obviousness? What for? Drawing crisp clear lines around what they are doing? Poppycock!

In a way you could call this 99 percent rock as the topics of shady government policy and corrupt big business tend to dominate the Shell Corporation's reflections. Although there are similar reoccurring themes, they never get overtly specific in their critiques of society. This can be seen as a benefit or a hindrance, depending on how you look at it. Is the message clearer when given specific cultural context or does it lose some of it's timelessness? There is an unhinged folksy aesthetic to the music at play here rather than an attention to technicality that seems to point more towards that timelessness that a more academic approach would sour in my opinion.

Folk music finds it's way into Force Majeure in a more overt way in the form of acoustic balladeering. Tossing in some variation to the tone and tempo should give the listening experience more longevity but in this case I really feel they stifle the album's momentum. "A Scrillion Scrieces" which features some of the best guitar leads and vocal melodies on the album is preceded by the drab power balled "All Of The Best", which is criminal. Well maybe it helps anyone listening appreciate the awesomeness of "A Scrillion Scrieces" more.

Force Majeure works really well as a product of its time and is a really impressive debut. People looking for new bands that do something different with the '90s skatepunk thing look no further, the vocal harmonies on this are especially satisfying. I hope on their next release they can iron out the kink or two.