With Shellac's fans waiting patiently for the follow-up to At Action Park, the band oddly issued approximately 800 copies of this half-hour of voiceless experimentation to friends and family. Strangely popping up briefly on Touch & Go's release schedule, the record quickly vanished from it amidst rumors of its nature. The record accompanied a Canadian dance production, and it was deemed by the band a mediocre recording. So rather than flood the market with perceived twaddle, they decided to give the record to friends as a gift.
The Futurist does have its moments. Rather than proper tracks or songs, the record seems to have ten "movements," as each piece flows steadily into the next. Oscillator tweakings mixed with Morse code transmissions and overseas correspondence give way to brief guitar/bass/drum bursts. Skronking noise here, guitar twists there, and familiar band interplay every now and again à la "QRJ" (off 1000 Hurts) double dutch with each other, never outlasting their welcome. The second side is the better of the two, including two excellent stompers. The last "movement" is the high point of the record, concluding with a bombastic outro.
More than anything, the band's reluctance in properly issuing The Futurist speaks volumes on how much twaddle is foisted on the general public. Shellac might not be the most prolific band on the planet, but you can pretty much bet without fault that what they do release will be up to snuff. Thanks to one of their friends leaking this record into the dark dungeons of file sharing, this may be reaching more ears than the band wished, and certainly they would have preferred that it not reach the ears of lowlife scribes. It might be second-rate Shellac, but second-rate Shellac is just fine.