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Album Reviews : Shellfin – Secondhand Family

By on December 14, 2010

Overflowing with juicy riffs and big grooves, the debut full length from Brisbane’s Shellfin, is a seriously fun fourty-whatever minutes. Drenched in quite obvious Kyuss influences, Secondhand Family cruises along with a laid-back outlook on life, a beer in hand and not a care in the world.

Kicking off with an extended version of “The Extent of It”, from their previous EP Stay for Tea, simple tunes, simple lyrics, and simple fun is what’s on offer. “Cruzzin” (a more than appropriate song title) focuses on seriously ballsy riffs with some huge ‘wooaahhh’ vocal moments, while the two minute “Short Spew” has a slight sense of no-bullshit punk. The mellow “Hedgehog” is a short but sweet highlight with some Colour Haze-esque clean guitars and a fantastic bass guitar backing, and the blatant lyrics to “What’s That Smell?” will put a smirk on your face. While the overall sound is fairly consistent throughout, touches of psychedelia and doom weave their way into the mix, breaking up any monotony.

Without actually changing up the formula too much, each of the eight (nine if you include the hidden track) songs on here have their own distinct attitudes, and rightful spots on the release. The musicianship is hard to fault with each member clearly having the knack for this style of music. Vocalist Dyob was born for stoner rock, and the power behind Geeks’ (also of Defamer) drums gives the music some serious punch.

However, don’t get excited when you chuck it into your iTunes and notice that the closer, “The Intervening Time”, is twenty eight minutes long. While I bounced with excitement at the idea, it turns to silence at the eight minute mark and stays that way until a bonus track kicks in. It’s a cruel taunt to those who enjoy lengthy tracks, and I fall for it every time, but regardless the bonus track is a good’un. Apparently titled “Of Bowels and Breath”, it’s darker and slower than anything else on the release, leaning more toward doom metal than catchy, stoner rock.

To put it simply, fans of stoner rock are going to be fans of Secondhand Family. While it would be interesting to see them head further into the darker doom they teased at, this release does everything it should. It’s just a bit of a shame the band aren’t much of a touring one. 8/10

At the time of publishing this review, Secondhand Family is available as a ‘pay what you want’ deal with no minimum through their Bandcamp page, linked below.

Band: Shellfin
Album: Secondhand Family
Year: 2010
Genre: Stoner rock
Origin: Brisbane, Australia
Label: Independent

Track listing:
1. The Extent Of It
2. Cruzzin
3. In The Head <- reviewers choice
4. Short Spew
5. Hedgehog
6. Fleischgeist
7. What’s That Smell?
8. The Intervening Time


Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.