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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

2.83

Votes

5107

Genres

  • Pop
  • Britpop
Reviews
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View Author
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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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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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 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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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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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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Mon Oct 17 2022
5

idk yet

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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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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 03 2021
4

Better than I remember...

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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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Thu Feb 04 2021
4

7.5

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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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Mon Jan 25 2021
4

Loved it

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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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Mon Jun 14 2021
4

Pretty good Bri-ish innit

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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 Mar 17 2021
4

Leuke ontdekking.

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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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Thu Aug 19 2021
4

Quite liked this so 90s!

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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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Thu Mar 10 2022
4

Enjoyed it~

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Fri Apr 15 2022
4

Peak 90s, fun listening.

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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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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 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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Thu Sep 01 2022
4

A pleasant surprise

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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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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 06 2022
4

ok

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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

Pretty good!

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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 Oct 07 2020
3

nice music to work to. didnt have to think about anything too hard.

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Thu Oct 08 2020
3

Decent BritPop, but nothing special.

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Wed Mar 24 2021
3

Levy alko ihan lupaavasti, mutta loppua kohden hyyty. Kuuntelin kahdesti.

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Wed Mar 24 2021
3

mixed, it's pretty smooth but nothing too crazy. I have listened to other songs from them, not a bad band.

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Thu May 20 2021
3

Not bad, but nothing that particularly stuck with me

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Thu Jan 21 2021
3

Not really my style, but I can appreciate some heroin-fueled pop rock as much as the next guy. Has its moments... fleeting ones, but perhaps it's better that way.

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Fri Jan 29 2021
3

90s british rock. Decent but not amazing.

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Wed Jun 30 2021
3

Pleasant Surprise

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Tue May 18 2021
3

Fun stuff. Nice driving music

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Thu Feb 11 2021
3

A lot of songs on here felt like they were mimicking the style of other bands; beatles, red hot chili peppers and even Blur. it was enjoyable but ultimately forgettable

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Wed Feb 24 2021
3

Alright, bluetones-esque 90s fodder.

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Thu Jun 03 2021
3

Decent.

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Mon Jul 05 2021
3

this one was kinda sadly forgettable. i was psyched because i'd never heard of them, and they were from liverpool, which just seems like a good thing...Streets of Kenny was great, but nothing else really stood out here to me.

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Fri Jan 22 2021
3

Folky 90s altrock

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Wed Feb 17 2021
3

ei nouse mulle massasta, kuulostaa geneeriseltä brittiläiseltä kitarapopilta

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Fri Apr 02 2021
3

Meh

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Wed Mar 10 2021
3

I liked some of it and didn't hate any of it. If I could rate 3.5 I would... it's not quite 4 stars though.

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Wed May 05 2021
3

Album tres 90. Bon son en general mais se compare pas vraimment aveci les gros albums de ces annees. Quand meme une belle ecoute. 3.25

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Tue Jul 20 2021
3

Why? 5

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Thu Feb 25 2021
3

3

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Mon May 31 2021
3

Nice enough. The songs have a sixties feel at times. I prefer the sparse, mellower tracks. The horns were a nice addition to Re-instated. Michael Head is a better song-writer than singer.

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Thu Apr 01 2021
3

Strangely never heard of this band before. Quite good...

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Tue May 18 2021
3

Fine!

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Tue Jan 26 2021
3

I’ve never heard of Shack before and I’ve never heard any of these songs. Managed to listen 1.5 times through the album, and definitely liked it better the second time but I’m still not ready to do more than a 3. Gonna save “Pull Together” into one of my playlists though

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Thu Apr 01 2021
3

Strange but enjoyable.

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Thu Apr 01 2021
3

By the second listen I was really starting to enjoy it. ***

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Mon Jul 05 2021
3

Good. Jangly.

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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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Wed Mar 17 2021
3

Some songs have a bit of an R.E.M. vibe to it and I quite like it. Full album is a bit much though.

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Mon May 17 2021
3

Not as bad as I thought it'd be considering the previous britpop on the list. That being said, it's very forgettable and I have no desire to revisit it

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Wed Feb 24 2021
3

Slightly above average but certainly nothing special. Everything you would expect from this genre.

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Fri Jun 04 2021
3

Not heard of this band before which is surprising. You can hear the similarities to many of their related bands (lightning seeds, cast, the las), not bad but don’t know if I would choose to listen to them over others.

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Wed Mar 24 2021
3

Kinda boring

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Mon May 03 2021
3

Turn of the millenia rock with 90's angst. This album clearly is setting the tone for what would be alternative noise for the upcoming era.

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Tue Mar 23 2021
3

Je connais pas ce genre de musique, la "britpop" Nathalie's party (opening) : effectivement c'est pop. Mais c'est pas mal, ça ressemble à une musique de film. On dirait de la bonne soupe, genre la musique de Shrek Ca sent le 2.5 : ça me laisse pantois, même si c'est joli par certains aspects. Finalement ça finit sur un 3 C'est un peu cucul mais ça se chante autour d'un feu. Fav : Lend's Some Dough (elle représente bien l'album), Daniella (jolie)

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