Shelby - The Luxury of Time (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


The Luxury of Time (2005)


At times, Shelby straddle a very fine line. That is the line that exists between indie rock and modern radio rock. Where's the distinction, really? Would there really be much of an uproar if Knapsack or Hey Mercedes appeared on your favorite radio station next week? Then again, how would you feel about Sub Pop releasing the next Everclear album?

It's tough to say just what separates the two, and even tougher for The Luxury of Time to be placed in either category.

The despondent, violin-heavy "Salt of the Earth" is a great example of what you would not hear on modern rock radio. The song's somber nature is only made that much more so by the haunting strings of Claudia Chopek's violin. It's not present on every song, but when included, it can really heighten what may already be a very strong level of emotion. Inversely, the rocking, up-tempo "Green Eyes" could very easily be a radio single, with its overall dynamics and vocals just begging to be sung along with. Kenny Cummings is able to strongly carry this song, and many others on his vocal's chords alone, but the rest of the band contributes plenty as well. The seven-minute "Blue Becomes You" shows the band really finding its rhythm, contrasting some great clean guitar against a heavy fuzz and Cummings' now almost inaudible wail; it took them a bit, but Shelby did find their niche. The problem being that up to that point, it was an album full of mostly forgettable material.

Not forgettable in the sense that it was "bad," per se, only in the sense that the band had trouble figuring out a way to keep the listener there, and keep them wanting to hear everything else. The album as a whole is at around 50 minutes, so it's definitely harder for Shelby to keep that interest. "The Golden Boy" kicks things off in a solid fashion, with the distorting reverborating over the vocals, but "Louden Wainright" immediately brings the pace back down, with Cummings singing much more quietly over a thick but quiet bass-line repeating in the back. The silver lining with the slower songs, even though they're typically much more boring, is that the strong imagery in the lyrics is pushed to the forefront.

These palms sing lonely songs in the wind, their fronds brush moisture, from the rain on your skin / The marigolds form a bed under me, and gently float across the waves of the sea / I stumbled into paradise, a stowaway of great device, I rode the clouds for miles and miles, and swam the oceans for a while.
It may be the most alternative radio sounding song of the bunch, but there's no doubt the strong picture painted by the lyrical content makes the song worth a second listen. When it's all said and done though, what's really past that second listen? Not much. Solid musicians, no doubt, who are more than capable of crafting some solid songs, I'm just failing too see much replay value with the album as a whole. Maybe next time, guys.