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EP No 1 by Unexploded Shells

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Reviewed on 13th October 2005.


EP No 1

By Unexploded Shells

What happens when reviewers get together to form their own band? Do they right the wrongs of all the mountains of dross they have had to wade through in their time? Do they give us a clear and concise lesson in how it should really be done? Do they put down in music what they had always been trying to say in print? Judging by this debut, the answer to all these questions is no. Unexploded Shells, like any band venturing onto CD for the first time, have just the same amount of lessons to learn as the rest of us and the imaginatively titled EP No.1 is fair testament. Opening with the misguided humour of "It's That Song", which attempts a double bluff, being both a repetitive and annoying song about songs which are repetitive and annoying... get it? Sadly what the band seem to forgot is that the finished article is actually repetitive and annoying and therefore ultimately ineffective. Throughout Mark Sturdy's vocals lack the trick of being both dead pan and melodic but it's clear to see what is being attempted. "Summer Again" is a confused number but "Tender Kisses" with its Hefner intro builds into something respectable. Live closer "Icarus Drowning 1976" experiments with a sample but is rather unremarkable for it. EP numbers 2, 3 and 4 will no doubt see the band grow in strength.



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On 14th October 2005 at 13:29 Anonymous 3468 wrote...

Thanks for the the review Richard. However, if you're going to make a point of mentioning that some of the people in Unexploded Shells are reviewers, next time round could you perhaps also mention that one of us works in a clothing shop, two of us are students, one of us works for the DWP and one of us doesn't really do anything much?

Or maybe you could just leave all that out, seeing as it's totally irrelevant and all.


On 14th October 2005 at 17:17 Anonymous 30 wrote...

Bet that doesn't open as many doors for you as being reviewers though does it?


On 14th October 2005 at 18:36 Anonymous 2871 wrote...

Ok, so what doors have been opened for us?


On 16th October 2005 at 15:45 Anonymous 3468 wrote...

Personally I find doing reviews to be one of the least interesting parts of writing about music. That's why I've probably written fewer than 10 of them this year, preferring to concentrate on doing interviews and more in-depth research-based articles.

On the other hand, you, Rich, have written over seventy reviews on LMS alone this year. That's certainly more than I've written anywhere ever, and I suspect the same is true of Tom and Steve. Do you think, therefore, that it would be fair for people to review every Instant Species release in the context of it being itself the work of a reviewer? The idea that you make music in order to show us, Pigzipper, Steve Sanderson, 4 Letter Holiday and the rest how we should be doing it is surely ridiculous. So why does that apply to us?

"Bet that doesn't open as many doors for you as being reviewers though does it?" - well yeah actually, I'd say it did. As I'm sure you'll know. income from full-time employment and student loans comes in very handy if you want to pay for instruments, practice time and taxis to and from gigs. Although to be fair, obviously being reviewers has been pretty useful too - as you'll know if you've seen all the major national music press we've been getting and the hundreds of people (including dozens of chequebook-waving A&R men, of course) who flock to our gigs.

My point about the clothing shops, the DWP and so on was to underline that what we do outside of the band doesn't make ANY DIFFERENCE. We're people who make music. That's all.

Oh, and you also appear to have got Summer Again and and Tender Kisses mixed up.


On 17th October 2005 at 08:45 Anonymous 30 wrote...

Give it a rest and get on with it! For heavens sakes it was a joke! Guess some people can't take them.


On 17th October 2005 at 09:00 Anonymous 30 wrote...

Plus if you think I am that arrogant - "Do you think, therefore, that it would be fair for people to review every Instant Species release in the context of it being itself the work of a reviewer? The idea that you make music in order to show us, Pigzipper, Steve Sanderson, 4 Letter Holiday and the rest" then you are pretty misguided about the time I give freely to providing people with honest opinions. Dear me I guess we reviewers truly are the worst people at taking bad reviews.


On 17th October 2005 at 10:21 Anonymous 2871 wrote...

But we're not complaining about what has been said about the music. Rather we are questionning why a huge proportion of the review circles around what three fifths of our band do with some of their spare time.

Plus, I find it worrying that of a mighty three tracks, you managed to get two mixed up..


On 17th October 2005 at 10:46 Anonymous 3028 wrote...

Turn it in tomas. He obviously got the tracks mixed up because the music didn't make that much of an impression on him. Not everyone is gonna love your stuff. If can't accept controversial feedback, don't send your CD off for reviewing. It is hard to take after all the time and effort but thats just something you will have to deal with as a musician and song writer. Your not the reviewer anymore, you are the reviewed. And I am sure you have written things to p*ss people of in the past. Take it like a man and get on with improving your upcoming material. Prove him wrong if your that bothered. Thats my shout anyway. Good luck to you all.


On 17th October 2005 at 10:50 Anonymous 30 wrote...

I find it worrying that you think there is 3 tracks on your CD when I clearly count 4! And with regards the reviewers issue...just get over it. It's an interesting point of note thats all. Plus I am not getting the tracks mixed up...it was Mark who said that, and I have checked back and they are exactly the ones I'm talking about. Now can we all just move on? If you want a boring track by track assessment in the future then that is what you shall have.


On 17th October 2005 at 11:12 Anonymous 3028 wrote...

Ha ha ha, I thought that about the 4 tracks He has just tried to show your background and story lads. That is what you are the the general public. ex reviewer come musician. If you don't like what you are and can't cope with people seeing you as this, then you might have a problem. Otherwise I suggest maybe an alter ego with an exciting background. Best to just be yourself in my opinion.


On 17th October 2005 at 11:20 Anonymous 3468 wrote...

"Not everyone is gonna love your stuff. If can't accept controversial feedback, don't send your CD off for reviewing"

Andy - this has already been pointed out, but no one's complaining about the essence of the review. I'm genuinely not arsed about the fact that he didn't think the music was up to much. We've had any number of good, bad and indifferent reviews and I can live with them all - and as someone who's been on the receiving end of more than his fair share of whining from bands about negative reviews, I don't think you'll find anyone more convinced than me that bands need to take the rough with the smooth, accept/ignore criticism and just get on with it.

What bothered me was Rick implying in the review that as some of the band are also writers, our CD should be judged by different standards to other people's (I was also annoyed that he suggested on here that the fact we're writers has "opened doors" for us, but seeing as he's not offered anything to back that up we'll discount that and assume he was on crack at the time).

Still, I've already made this point, Rick has defended himself, I'm not particularly convinced by what he's said in his defence but it doesn't look like we're going to establish any common ground so perhaps best leave it there.

Incidentally, here's an incomplete list of other bands with members who write for LMS:

Instant Species
My Exploding Heart
Johnny Poindexter
Farming Incident

A right bloody shower I'm sure you'll agree.


On 17th October 2005 at 11:59 Anonymous 30 wrote...

I give up trying!


On 17th October 2005 at 18:02 Anonymous 4205 wrote...


There's slight difference with the other bands mentioned though. As far as I'm aware all those bands were formed before individual members became reviewers.

The Shells came together after a group of reviewers decide to form a band.

Does that make a difference? I'm not sure. But I'm certinaly a guitarist first and a reviewer a distant second. I'd suggest that Tom, and maybe yourself, are the other way round.

And Tom does work for the NME (albeit not a full timer). How many bands with NME writers in them ever avoided that being mentioned in their reviews?

Hi by the way.


On 18th October 2005 at 01:21 Anonymous 3468 wrote...



On 19th October 2005 at 12:11 Anonymous 1205 wrote...

As much as I wanted to sit on the fence and not stick my two penneth in I just cant.

The songs you have on the myspace account for listen are "unremarkable". Mark's voice does "lack the trick" and both your backgrounds as muso critics and having a band member who scribbles for a major Uk music rag are bound to be talking points. So I really cant see what their is to moan about with this review.

A case of teddies out of the pram me thinks.


On 19th October 2005 at 12:49 Anonymous 4126 wrote...

Im an American


On 19th October 2005 at 13:10 Anonymous 3028 wrote...

I'm a Yorkshireman


On 19th October 2005 at 13:21 Anonymous 3468 wrote...

"The songs you have on the myspace account for listen are "unremarkable". Mark's voice does "lack the trick""

Jesus Christ... I know I promised not to repeat this again, but I. WAS. NOT. COMPLAINING. ABOUT. THE. REVIEW. ITSELF. Why is that so hard for you to comprehend?

He doesn't like the tracks? Fine. Do a bit of Googling and you'll find that we've had far harsher criticism than this which we've never commented on. Why? Because we're NOT BOTHERED.

Complaining about the inaccurate and irrelevant "band of reviewers trying to show us what's what" comment at the start of the review is not the same as complaining about the content of the review itself. Why can you not get your head around that simple distinction?


On 19th October 2005 at 14:28 Anonymous 3028 wrote...

Get your gob around something, preferably a cock and shut up. We've heard enough. He criticised your musical talents, so your back lash was to criticise his reviewing technique. Fair enough. Close the book on this one now eh


On 19th October 2005 at 14:33 Anonymous 3468 wrote...

That's that sorted out then.


On 19th October 2005 at 17:21 Anonymous 4015 wrote...

I don't think it was ever the reviewing technique that was questionable - Tom's an excellent writer - but simply the complete and utter irrelevance of the mentioning of the bands' occupation.

It shouldn't have caused such a fuss. It did.


On 19th October 2005 at 17:25 Anonymous 4015 wrote...

"Tom?" wtf?

I meant Mark, clearly.


On 19th October 2005 at 17:25 Anonymous 4015 wrote...


What the hell is my mind doing this afternoon? Sorry for my triple-post.


On 22nd October 2005 at 12:54 Anonymous 4028 wrote...

i've just heard there new stuff and it really is quite different and good.



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Awkward indie noise-pop

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