The Shrine

Bless Off

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Armed with a seemingly endless supply of killer riffs, the Shrine attempt to re-create the primordial ooze that gave birth to California skatepunk with Bless Off. Feeling like the product of a gnarlier, more shirtless era, the album doesn't just evoke the rebellious sounds of bands like Motörhead, but instead evokes the feeling of listening to Motörhead while cutting school and looking for an abandoned pool to skate. While there's certainly something nostalgic about Bless Off, the album is solid enough to stand on its own without spending a lot of time worrying about whether or not the listener is obsessed with the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. There's an energy about the record that seems to incite the kind of reckless abandon that's required to really embrace skateboarding, as if the Shrine are trying to get listeners to regress to a more impulsive time when people just did things without checking in with the peanut gallery via social media. With its 11 tracks delivered in rapid succession, it's clear that this ethos is one the Shrine themselves are following, opting to rock, and rock hard, without spending a lot of unnecessary brainpower navel-gazing about the deeper meaning of rock & roll's relationship with counter-culture. Instead, Bless Off is a single-minded beast of an album that seeks only to inspire the listener to hit the streets and take some risks, making a case for the idea that a life that isn't lived dangerously is a life that's barely lived at all.

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