Album Reviews

Wax Poetic: Shelflife

Wax Poetic is a series of reviews highlighting artists and albums both old and new. These reviews will both shed light on the music played on our specialty shows and hopefully introduce you to some new artists.

Wax Poetic: Shelflife – Shelflife

I used to be very diligent in my search for music. Five or six years ago I would search the internet for hours at a time, moving from an album review site to an individual band page to a label site to a blog aggregator and back again. It was both a vicious cycle and a pretty unrewarding experience. It certainly took some time for me to realize that great artists tend to sneak up on us when we least expect it. I mean, think about it: how many times have you heard a can’t-live-without-it song on the radio and waited impatiently for the DJ to back track the name of it so that you could go listen to it again right away? What’s that? You have Shazam? Oh well, anyway…

I bring all of this up because a few months ago I tried a little music searching session for old times sake. This time, however, I actually came across something that I found very intriguing. I was surprised to find Shelflife, but I am very glad that I came across this sort-of mysterious band.

Shelflife is a group from Denmark that I call “sort-of mysterious” because even though we live in a everything-on-the-web type of world, all of my web searches have left me pretty empty handed. Sure, I can find a rarely-updated myspace as well as a bandcamp page where they offer their album for free, but that is about it. The only other article that I found about the band was one glowing review that I am about to try my hardest not to replicate.

Although I can’t tell you much about the band’s background, I can tell you that Shelflife’s self-titled album is something that I find very special. The album mixes elements of shoegaze, post-rock, midwest math-rock and early post-hardcore to create an incredible sonic landscape. Instruments and haunting vocal lines just weave in and out of the songs effortlessly. Every little part seems to fit into place as the pieces come together and make this nine track album feel like one long evolving song.

Shelflife are quite skilled at creating music that is both loud and melodic. The guitar and bass work together to create intricate-yet-catchy melodies while the drums move things forward with unexpected rhythms and air-drum worthy fills. The band always seems to be on the same page as they move from math-rock to jazzy compositions to short bursts of intense shoegaze — often all in the same song.

My only worry is that Shelflife will disappear into the ether forever. The album has been out for three years now, and the lack of available information on the band is discouraging. I would be very disappointed if I never heard a another recording of their whirring Danish guitars, but I am glad that their self-titled album serves as a document of their creativity and genre-bending talent.

Shelflife can be heard on DJ Dylan’s show Clang! Thursdays from 7-8 p.m. EST. Shelflife’s self-titled may be downloaded here.