Local Review: New Hollywood – Shell Shock

Local Review: New Hollywood – Shell Shock

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New Hollywood
Shell Shock

Self-Released
Street: 11.17
New Hollywood = Elliott Smith + The Ramones

Local indie rock quartet New Hollywood offer charming, up-tempo punk and lilting indie rock with delightful retro sensibilities in their fresh new 11-track album, Shell Shock. The collection is surely the stuff of the early ’80s punk scene à la CBGB stuffed into a familiar time-traveling phone booth and transported to today. Use of raw vocals and guitar distortion with minimal post production make Shell Shock feel authentic and vulnerable in refreshing counterpoint to occasionally sandpapery sonic sentiments. The gravel and grit of the album is nearly too much until the finer side of several tracks smooths things out. Springsteen’s spirit offers echoey reverb and nostalgic, hopeless romantic lyrics that set the stage for the general narrative sophistication of several tracks, including “Tin Can Collect” and “Mainstreet Parade.”

New Hollywood master manic, romantic-uber punk on many fronts, with all the trappings from shifty tempo to shouty vocals to nihilistic sentimentality. Slower indie rock tunes offer a light shift of gears via “wake.” including the obligatorily morose lyrics. “Summertime” is perhaps my favorite track on this album, with a lengthy, slow, BB King–esque blues guitar opener and minimalist messages that achieve a pleasing crescendo. “Vietnam” takes on a melodic, rockabilly feel that wonderfully counterpoints its surrounding tracks, further highlighting the balance the band strikes throughout the collection. “Godstruck Youth” is the simplest yet most poignant track, hidden at the album’s tail end amid its punky brethren. With rich and relatable imagery, it attests to the shaming of young love and the inevitability of sexual impulse, perhaps speaking to the alienation of youthful religious conflict. Shell Shock is overall a strong set of songs to appeal to the bluesy and brash borders of the listener’s brain, prompting both quiet contemplation and righteous indignation. –Paige Zuckerman