There aren't many bands who would dare mimic the unique sound of Shellac. There are even fewer who would undertake a drastic change in songwriting like Shipping News have this late in their 16-year career. Who knew Shipping News, known for their tectonic pace and under-the-breath lyrical acuity, had it in them to play uptempo, dynamic (and most definitely Shellac-influenced) post-rock? With jarring barbs excreting from guitarist Jeff Mueller's newly found voicebox, the new upbeat nature of things makes him sound for all the world like Steve Albini on some songs. But it's little more than an oddity on this nine-song live album (seven songs of which are brand new) that in the canon of Shipping News records, stands atop the pile, or at least near it. Full of power and their trademark delicate storytelling, Shipping News' latest is their greatest.
- Oakland Childers