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Shelf Life (Scotty Leitch): Everyone Make Happy

Track List

>Curse, The
>Mark II
>Low Key Lumber Theft
>Time Traveler
>Double Dare
>Feel Better
>Sinking Just Right
>Don't Palpatize

Album Notes

Philadelphia-based working musician, recording engineer, and songwriter Scotty Leitch adopted the name Shelf Life for his solo work in the 2010s. His label debut and first proper full-length, Everyone Make Happy, offers up warm and ambling, '90s-feeling quasi-acoustic guitar tales. Listing Ween and Pinback among his influences, and at times sounding more precisely like a descendent of early R.E.M. ballads or Pavement, Leitch's attractively craggy textures, laid-back rhythms, and sustained guitar style make every attack and every extended chord count. "Double Dare" exemplifies the easygoing vibe ("Meet me at the mall later on/I'll have my new Slayer shirt on"), decorating it with organ and overlapping spoken jibber-jabber near the end. The more introspective quality of most of the lyrics is showcased on the fiddle-guitar tune "Creature," which submits: "I can't take this road or the people on it/I had a soul but my mother drowned it." Of a more experimental nature, not only does the catchy jangle pop of "Time Traveler" switch to half time and trip out as the song progresses, but it includes a sound clip from an episode of Star Trek. The equally quirky "Mark II" offers a tempo departure with quick, syncopated drum and bass patterns and a repetitive, tightly wound vocal line. While Everyone Make Happy feels rustic overall, it doesn't stagnate; irregular meters, tempo changes, offbeat keyboard voicings, and varied vocal styles are among the traits that keep the album interesting, where melody and chord progressions sometimes doze inconspicuously on the back porch rocking chair. ~ Marcy Donelson


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