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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Hms Fable

Shack

1999

Hms Fable
Album Summary

H.M.S. Fable is the third album by Liverpudlian band Shack, released in June 1999 via London Records. It was the band's first album following their reformation after the interest generated by their previous much-delayed album Waterpistol and the album by offshoot band The Strands. H.M.S. Fable was well received by the critics: among the UK music publications, the album was placed at number 2 on both the NME and Uncut critics' poll of the albums of the year for 1999, and number 5 in Select magazine.

Wikipedia

Rating

2.81

Votes

9548
Genres
Pop
Britpop

Reviews

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Fri Jul 09 2021
2

Another British pop album so important that the only sentence under the Legacy tab in Wikipedia is the one noting that it is on the 1001 albums list. I understand that sometimes you need a bit of distance between an album and the review to gain perspective on it, but that's exactly why it shouldn't be on this list. It's a late 90s pop album that sounds like a late 90s pop album. It's fine, but indistinguishable from a hundred other albums that came out in the same era. It's not special or groundbreaking or technically outstanding in any way. Why not throw a couple of Days of the New or Stabbing Westward albums on here while we're wasting everyone's time? 2/5

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Thu Jan 26 2023
1

Jesus, 1999. Were people still doing this in ‘99? Blur were forming The Gorilaz, Radiohead had moved on to Kid A, Kasabian were starting out… and Shack were making this. It’s fine I guess, it’s like a very good pub band but I can’t see any reason for it to be on this list. I got quite angry that this is included.

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Fri Feb 10 2023
2

Boy, Oasis really did a number on the Brits, didn’t they?

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Wed Mar 22 2023
1

I think that the fact that this album is in the 1001 is the biggest joke so far. I went to dozen of record stores, I'm on Facebook group with more than 15000 music lovers, I'm digging music for more than 15 years now and no one, absolutely no one ever recommended me this. I had never even seen this poor artwork before. And you know why? Because this album is insanely generic and because it is NOT a monument in the history of music AT ALL. This 1001 thing doesn't even contains albums from artists and bands likes Phil Collins, Gentle Giant, Broadcast or American Football, but of course, SHACK IS HERE! THE QUINTESSENCE OF MUSIC. Thank you and goodbye.

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Mon Nov 07 2022
2

2.6 - Another lukewarm Britpop entry. To quote Beavis and Butthead: "We've got enough crap over here in this country. Why do we need to go to Europe to get more?" The pretty "Daniella" ends this pleasant but forgettable record on a hauntingly mournful note.

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Sun Feb 28 2021
4

After listening to the first song I had a feeling this was going to be a maximum 3 star, on its way to a 2. But the songs on the album changed genre a few times and the stories for a few of the songs were fairly unique. In the end I went and listened to it all the way through again.

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Wed Feb 17 2021
2

Bland and uninspired britpop. Wished I was listening to something else almost the entire time. No more of this, please

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Thu Sep 22 2022
4

"H.M.S. Fable" is the third album by the Liverpudlian band Shack and the first album after the band's reformation following their previous album "Waterpistol" and an album by an off-shoot band, The Strands. H.M.S means Her Majesty Ship which makes sense given the album cover and some of the lyrics. Yeah, I had to look that up. Shack consisted of Mick Head (vocals, guitar), his brother John Head (guitar), Justin Smith (bass) and Mick Hurst (drums). This is a very well-crafted and well-produced (Hugh Jones and Youth (Martin Glove)) album. Definitely in the pop (or Britpop) category but also has some pyschedelic and prog elements. This is one of the most happy and optimistic sounding albums given that some of the songs are about the Head brothers' struggles with drugs, which was no secret. The album starts extremely strong with two great songs. "Natalie's Party" is pop sounding and also reminds me of Cracker. Very optimistic. Guitar bridge. Strings. Chorus. Great lyrics about two lovers. "Comedy" is slower, with strings. Nice guitar outro. Again, optimistic about someone pulling him through. "When you cry it pulls me through." The next two songs "Pull Together" and "Beautiful" sound more like the pop-side of Oasis. Both songs soar. "Lend's Some Dough" may be the happiest song I've heard about drugs... kind of Beatles-esque. The second half of the album incorporates some pyschedelia and prog. In "Streets of Kenny" he's searching for drugs. Pyschedelic and prog, it kind of reminded me of the Moody Blues. Pyschedelic ending with dual lead guitars. " I Want You" moves back to more pop. Lyrical references to ships, kings, queens and Merlin. Very Love-sounding with the pyschedelic guitars. The album ends kind of sad with the song "Daniella," unlike the rest of the album. Acoustic guitar. He lost his friend Jack. Wow, I think I made the most band references in anything I've written but Shack created music that is their own. I've like everything I've heard from Mick Head both previous with The Pale Fountains and subsequently. This album is no exception. I can see why his music is revered by many.

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Mon Feb 08 2021
5

Reminds me a little of All The Roadrunning or REM. Their songs are really good at both hitting all of the satisfying resolutions while also moving in interesting unexpected directions.

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Thu Jan 20 2022
5

Thought this was brilliant. Natalie's Party and Daniella are both superb and book end some absolutely brilliant 90's indie music.

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Mon Dec 21 2020
4

It would be hard to review this album without comparing Shack to Oasis, so I won't try. It's a band fronted by troubled brothers who sing soaring melodies about scoring heroin accompanied by strings. They're the Liverpudlian Oasis. In fact, the two bands had a sort of co-dependent relationship, even if one made it big while the other one opened for them years later. This certainly sounds like an Oasis album, but better; a glance at the lyrics reveals a song-writing talent that the Gallaghers could only dream of. Shack is one of those "what could have been" bands that nevertheless managed to pull it together long enough to make one memorable album, and this is solid stuff. Best track: Beautiful

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Tue Jan 26 2021
4

Some good easy listening - kind of distracting how often they changed time signature in many songs, but it felt like a precursor to Guster, so I liked it similarly.

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Wed Jan 26 2022
4

Wasn't expecting to like it, but this is a gem of its genre! It sounds a lot like R.E.M. The strings were a wonderful touch throughout. I loved the songs that felt a little shanty-ish/adventurous/folksy, like Streets of Kenny or Daniella. At times a bit too cheesy, but it never was unenjoyable. The best songs I loved, and the worst songs were still very nice.

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Wed Jul 13 2022
4

This was massive in the UK for a bit, but somehow it completely passed me by. It was better than I expected; the connective tissue between Oasis and Elbow.

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Thu May 20 2021
3

Not bad, but nothing that particularly stuck with me

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Thu Mar 18 2021
3

Scouse britpop arriving at the fag end of the movement. Best Tracks: Natalie's Party, Comedy, Streets of Kenny

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Tue May 25 2021
1

disharmonious cross between blues traveller and oasis. it actively offends and i dont like it

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Thu Feb 17 2022
1

Yeah, this is just typical britpop. The fact this album and this band are utterly unknown to me, someone who was a teenager in the 90s in the UK and bought in, at least a bit, to the britpop scene, speaks volumes.

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Thu Jun 10 2021
5

Don't know how that one passed me by, fantastic album

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Fri May 20 2022
5

Great album, combines the best aspects of Britpop with some Indie and Folk elements. Especially loved the harmonies and the catchiness of the songs

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Thu Dec 15 2022
5

I‘ve never heard of Shack before today. Before listening, a rudimentary glance at Wikipedia shows they’re from Liverpool, which is basically a 15 minute drive from where I live. Did Shack not get very big, or have I been living under a rock? Songs I already knew: None Favourites: Comedy, Lend’s Some Dough, Daniella Is it the familiar accent in the vocals? Is it the similar sound to other bands I like? Is it simply that one of the song titles is my name? The amalgamation of all these little parts, as well as the excellently orchestrated music, gave me goosebumps several times when listening to this today. As the guitar played out the final track, the goosebumps came back, I removed my headphones, and had to take a few moments to appreciate everything I had just heard. Truly, this was a phenomenal album that I thoroughly enjoyed today, and definitely something I’ll be returning back to a lot.

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Mon Jan 23 2023
5

The last classic album to come out of Liverpool?

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Sun Jul 02 2023
5

Loved this, and never had heard it. I hear influences from the Beatles, the Who, the Byrds, maybe even a little Simon & Garfunkel. Will listen again.

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Mon Jul 03 2023
5

For some reason seeing this cover always made me think this was some kind of bad Alt Country record. Boy, I couldn’t be more wrong. This, is a very welcome surprise and the record pretty much hooked me. It’s in the vein of Oasis, very strong Britpop with great instrumentation and songwriting. I’ve got a feeling this record is gonna creep up very fast and become one of my favourites! 8,5 out of 10

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Fri Jul 07 2023
5

First listen of this band. Loved this record

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Sun Oct 01 2023
5

Great album. Very chill. I liked it so much I added it to my Spotify favorites. I especially liked the vocals / harmony.

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Sun Nov 26 2023
5

Call the police! I'd like to report an album that's been criminally under-rated.

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Wed Dec 13 2023
5

Mick Head is one of the greatest (unappreciated) songwriters from Britain in the last 30 years.

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Thu Jan 18 2024
5

From the name and album cover I thought this would be Irish jigs or something. This album is nice, it has a calming feel-good rock vibe. Definitely that late 90’s alt feel

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Wed Jan 31 2024
5

Never heard of this but it is brilliant

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Fri Sep 18 2020
4

Very 90s garage rock. I liked the vibe but all the songs felt like they meshed together for me, not a lot of distinction between them.

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Wed Mar 24 2021
4

Pretty good album with a 90s rock sound

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Mon Feb 01 2021
4

Sounds like a less interesting version of Ween to me. Not bad though.

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Wed Mar 03 2021
4

A surprisingly fantastic album! I love the soft rock groove, and I added it to my playlist. Shack was never on my radar, but they are awesome!

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Sat May 15 2021
4

Thoroughly enjoyed. Few tracks i don’t care for though

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Fri Jun 11 2021
4

The writer of this book being from UK is showing. Never heard of this. Sounds like pretty standard 90s britpop at first but it’s a lot deeper than that. Glad I pushed past my initial impression. I’m a little surprised these guys weren’t bigger in the states.

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Sat Mar 27 2021
4

This is really good. I had never heard of this band before, happy to have now discovered them!

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Wed Jan 27 2021
4

I love the liverpudlian accent making it’s way into the songs and the overall melodies. Feels very lightning seeds inspired and that is not a bad thing!

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Tue Apr 13 2021
4

I had never heard of this, which is somewhat surprising given that this type of music was right up my alley during this timeframe (college). Pretty great stuff.

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Wed Mar 24 2021
4

fine listen, kept me from killing my students for one more day :)

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Tue Jul 20 2021
4

7/10. I can't quite pin down what it sounds like, but it sounded familiar, and I liked it.

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Tue Jul 20 2021
4

solid britpop album, overall the style wasn't my favorite and some of it was overwrought, but i liked the variety and the stories. 7/10

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Wed Mar 17 2021
4

Mij voordien totaal onbekend. Poprock met hier en daar een folk-toetsje. Prachthoes ook (4,5 is geen 5 -> 4)

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Wed Feb 24 2021
4

Thrills / oasis vibe. Good listen.

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Wed Apr 21 2021
4

perks of being a wallflower chill vibez

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Wed May 26 2021
4

A good album that I could easily listen to again. Sit back, relax and enjoy the tunes.

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Thu May 27 2021
4

Not your usual Brit pop album some good songs on the album I enjoyed it 4/5

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Sun Nov 28 2021
4

Fairly standard Britpop, but a pretty decent example of that genre

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Thu Dec 23 2021
4

A pleasant album that hit the spot. No recognized songs

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Mon Jan 10 2022
4

4 really really good album. Liked every song, but many 90s albums sounds just like it. Will relisten soon.

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Sun Jan 23 2022
4

Genre: Britpop 4/5 The quick research session for this album before my listen did very little to illicit any genuine excitement from me. Blur’s Parklife was pretty bland, and most Britpop is fairly regular in concept and execution, but these guys really did something here! The orchestration and high-class production on this thing was incredibly unexpected, and didn’t feel facile or forced at all. Quite a refreshing listen, honestly. While the first two tracks are two of the band’s most popular, the album continued to impress, continued to have big, beautiful choruses, and continued to layer sounds in a very nice, very pleasing way. Even a song like Cornish Town, which starts rather innocuously, grows into a beautiful pop soundscape. I might be in the minority here, but I genuinely enjoyed this album!

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Wed Jan 26 2022
4

Great album with plenty of songs I thought were really good. The album doesn't seem to be that well known, but it was surprisingly fun. Only complaint is that the second half didn't appeal to me as much as the first. Favorite Songs: Natalie's Party, Comedy, Pull Together, Beautiful, Lend's Some Dough

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Thu Feb 10 2022
4

Close to a 5, really enjoyable listen from a band I’ve never heard of! Kind of Oasis crossed with Richard Hawley.

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Mon Apr 18 2022
4

Kinda oasis but better - not a fan of britpop and didn't like this on release, but the songwriting is so good it's aged well

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Wed May 18 2022
4

This was a lovely surprise. I thought I was going to hear Oasis with Michael Stipe as lead singer. But then we get these folk songs, as well as lush songs with strings in the background. This is the album that Oasis wished they could make.

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Fri May 20 2022
4

I just love the sound of this album! No single song stands out but it’s the way they all flow together and belong with each other, makes the albums really feel like a single piece of work. I really did enjoy listening to it.

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Thu Jul 14 2022
4

J'ai beaucoup aimé cet album de la voix française de Shark, qui sécurise sa belle note de 4/5 grâce au superbe "2-0 pour les Bleus de Port-Marie" annoncé en fin d'album.

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Wed Aug 03 2022
4

I have never heard of Shack before, and all of the music on HMS Fable was new to me. The album sounds like it could be grouped with some of the music I would have been listening to in the 90s. I didn't want to skip any tracks, but I didn't have any stand out tracks that I saved for my personal playlist either. This album comes in at exactly 3.5 stars. I'm not sure that I will think of listening to this album again, but I guess I will round up to 4 stars.

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Mon Aug 08 2022
4

really loved this one, probably my favourite so far from the albums that I hadn’t already heard in some capacity before!

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Wed Aug 24 2022
4

Really awesome album as a whole

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Thu Sep 01 2022
4

we've gotten a string of britpop recently in this project, and by and large it's been "just okay" for me. i don't know what happened with shack's h.m.s. fable, but i enjoyed their sound so much more. britpop appears to be a convoluted genre, so whether or not this album can be truly referred to as britpop, i don't know. i do know that the whole album flows easily, one song into the other. shack did well creating songs that were unique and can differentiate from one another, but taken as a whole, the songs are even better. the songs are pop in the sense that they are easy and catchy, but the songs are more broadly alternative. some songs are a little cheesy but charming ("beautiful"!). there are some good choices with the instruments. the horns on "reinstated" were particularly lovely. really, just a nice listen overall.

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Wed Oct 19 2022
4

Okay. Hear me out. I think everything is great about this album except his vocals. I think they’ve got some great lyrics and I love the songs. Someone else has just gotta sing them. I especially liked Lend’s Some Dough.

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Sun Nov 13 2022
4

Really good britpop LP. Not sure how I missed this one. I still prefer Teenage Fanclub or Del Amitri.

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Thu Dec 01 2022
4

I like it. Reading by the reviews people are mixed. But in my opinion I think it's up my alley. I like the sound of it. British garage indie pop rock vibes...

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Fri Dec 16 2022
4

Great album, very enjoyable from front to back. Favorite track: Re-Instated

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Fri Dec 30 2022
4

I had never heard of this, so I expected this would sound like 90's Brit-Pop. At times it does, they definitely sound like Oasis on some tracks, while on others they almost sound like they could be American. This was an interesting and enjoyable listen, will have to listen again to get the full scope of the band.

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Fri Jan 06 2023
4

Don't know how I've not heard of this britpop band before, being British and all. I was kind of hoping for sea shanties, considering the name and album art. Instead it was some indie britpop tunes. They were alright, seemed very well written. I found myself switching off during some of the songs, but overall it was quite good I thought. Favourite: Daniella

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Wed Jan 25 2023
4

Another 1001 album with barely a Wikipedia page - always exciting! Oasis if they were from Liverpool. How come I’ve never even come across the name Shack before? This is great! The opening trio of songs are extremely well written and for a moment there I almost thought this might be a hidden masterpiece. There is some heavy R.E.M. vibe going on and I’m all in on Mick Head’s vocals. Unfortunately my interest starts to fade along the way but after just one listen I was still quite taken aback by this. Well hidden, Liverpool. Well hidden.

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Wed Jan 25 2023
4

Album #200! I had never heard of either Shack nor Hms Fable before. Solid britpop with all the hallmarks: british accent, strings, and catchy melodies. 'Comedy' is a standout track.

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Mon Feb 20 2023
4

Reminds me heavily of Stone Enjoyed it a lot. Added it to my playlist.

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Fri Mar 10 2023
4

I liked this one. Definitely a 90’s sound, and I prefer this to Oasis. A few different styles here. Will explore their discography

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Thu Mar 16 2023
4

I genuinely wanted to switch it up as soon as I began listening, but couldn’t because I really didn’t feel a need to. I liked it a lot actually! I don’t know for what reason I’d return, this isn’t really my genre, but I feel like I will. ‘Pull Together’ brought this up an entire star.

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Mon Mar 20 2023
4

Britpop uit Liverpool dat nooit echt buiten het VK bekend is geworden. Geen bijzonder iconische nummers, maar de muziek is fijn om naar te luisteren. leukste nummer: Lend's some dough Leadzanger Michael Head heeft naast Shack ook in The Pale Fountains, The Strands en The Red Elastic Band gezeten.

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Fri Mar 31 2023
4

Better then expected. This record is melodic and also very beautiful.

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Thu Apr 13 2023
4

Beautiful record! Never heard of it before.

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Fri May 05 2023
4

A nice album - not sure if it's a classic, though.

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Wed May 17 2023
4

BL: Never heard of Shack but i like the album cover AL: Pretty good album. Underrated in the britpop sphere, much better than any Oasis or Blur record i've listened too. Solid instrumentation and some very good mixing. a hidden gem for sure FT: "Comedy", "Streets of Kenny", "Cornish Town", "Daniella" 4/5

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Fri Jun 09 2023
4

Pretty good actually. Didn’t think I’d like it as much as I did. A little clunky at times and maybe not amazing cohesion between songs but overall I liked it

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Mon Jun 26 2023
4

Surprised at how good this was.

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Thu Jul 06 2023
4

I'm a fan of the Strands and the Red Elastic Band already, so no surprise that I'm very taken with this sweeping, shimmering indie pop, suffused with the merest hint of Pentangle-esque Brit folk. The rather dreich Michael Head himself remains one of the most lugubrious sounding men in rock, but there's a warmth to his downbeat, yearning songs that rescues them from outright misery. Lovely stuff.

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Thu Jul 06 2023
4

It feels like you already know the album. Sometimes it sounds like something from 70s, maybe Tim Buckley's vibes, sometimes it's 90s, like a decent version of Nickelback)) Totally like it!

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