Shack - HMS Fable

by Bob Coyne Rating: Release Date:1999-06-21

H.M.S. Fable is an album that seemed to fall out of a clear blue sky. It seemed astonishing to learn that Shack were still going--though they'd surfaced briefly in 1995, they were widely assumed to have completely disappeared sometime in the dying days of the 1980s. After a few plays of H.M.S. Fable, it seemed more astonishing still that everyone had forgotten what they were capable of. Shack, who appeared doomed to skulk through posterity as one of those ghostly never-were bands that are more talked about than listened to, had ignored the script. H.M.S. Fable commanded, and was granted, centre stage. Of course, it probably helped matters for the elusive Liverpudlians that Oasis had become the biggest band in Britain pretty much by doing Shack's act, though not quite as well. If H.M.S. Fable is any one thing, it's the album Oasis like to think they've been making. Shack lift from the same sources (the Beatles, mostly) but have the wit to do more than just giving the heisted riffs a quick respray before selling them on. Shack have taken it apart and put it together again in a way that suits them: in terms of pop guitar balladry, this album reinvents the wheel. That Michael Head sings like an angel with a hangover doesn't hurt. --Andrew Mueller

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