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Ingredients, the second album by Philadelphia singer/producer Mike Shellito's group, Shellito, is proof of the fact that the more things change in rock music, the more they stay the same. Although this early-2000s release essentially falls into the alternative pop/rock category, there is no getting around the fact that Mike Shellito (who wrote or co-wrote all of the material) has been greatly influenced by the guitar pop of the late '60s and early '70s. Simon & Garfunkel and the Byrds have both affected Shellito's writing, although his vocals are closer to Art Garfunkel than Roger McGuinn. But the Philadelphian manages to incorporate those influences without sounding dated; even though introspective, wistful tunes like "Virgin Torpedo" and "Smart People" have echoes of guitar pop's Baby Boomer era, Mike Shellito and ally Jeff Tanner (whom he produced the album with) have no problem being relevant to alternative rock and indie rock tastes of the early 2000s. One thing Ingredients won't be accused of is shouting and screaming to get your attention. Subtlety and understatement are a big part of what Shellito and Tanner do on this album; in fact, their approach is so subtle that Ingredients lacks immediacy. Saying that something lacks immediacy isn't saying that it lacks substance -- Ingredients has a lot of substance -- but it does mean that the CD may not completely win you over on the first listen. After several listens, however, Ingredients reveals more and more of its power. As a vocalist, Mike Shellito is no a belter, but that doesn't mean that he isn't expressive. Make no mistake: Ingredients, for all its subtlety and restraint, has a lot of meat on its bones.

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