Remember the good old days in alternative music, when simple yet sturdy basslines led the charge (Joy Division, etc.)? The New York City new wave pop duo Shelby definitely do, as evidenced by quite a few of the tracks from their sophomore full-length offering, 2005's The Luxury of Time. Main members Kenny Cummings (vocals, guitar, bass, electronics, percussion) and Phil Schuster (bass) are back once more, with another impressive helping of oft-mopey, synth-laced alt-rock, which would've fit perfectly between the Cure and Morrissey on 120 Minutes back in 1988. With most modern-day alt-rock bands merely replicating garage rock circa Detroit in 1969 or New York City in 1976, Shelby set their sights on the '80s -- in other words, guitars soaked in distortion are replaced with guitars that ring and chime. In fact, picture a collaboration between Radiohead and the aforementioned Joy Division, and you wouldn't be too far off. "Salt of the Earth" sounds like it would have fit perfectly on The Bends, and with a few little changes, "Modify Myself" could've been included on Unknown Pleasures. But unlike most of the "retro alternative" acts that are plastered all over the covers of your favorite music mag, Shelby aren't merely a retread -- injecting in enough of their own personality and style, and creating something that certainly sticks out from the pack.
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AllMusic Review by Greg Prato