Over the past few years, Shell of a Shell has evolved from the solo recordings of guitarist Chappy Hull, who lent his strained vocals to the math-rock discography of Gnarwhal before joining the relatively tamer grunge rockers Pile for last year’s Green and Gray. The faction of Gnarwhal who isn’t currently jamming with a sludge metal band in a Louisianan swamp found an equally angsty songwriting outlet as his bandmate, as proven on his first collection of songs recorded with a full band, 2018’s Already There EP.
Shedding any excess reference points to Emergency & I, the Albinian post-hardcore of their forthcoming Away Team (perhaps not coincidentally, it was recorded in Chicago) sounds more at home within the Exploding in Sound canon. The first single, “Knock,” gives listeners an idea of the noisy melodies and emotional lyricism the record has to offer, confidently alleviating any concerns that this release might fall outside of the descriptor “pummeling” that’s promised by an EIS catalog number.
“‘Knock’ is a reminder to myself to try to be grounded and not become overwhelmed with emotions when unnecessary,” Hull explains of the song. “I used to and often still do get caught up in memories and funks that I would rather forget than learn from, but looking at them with a blind eye can be healthier than not having them at all. Taking time to actually work on things I want to work on rather than letting them get me down is a common thing with people I know and that itself is something I need to work on.”
Away Team is out February 28 via Exploding in Sound. You can pre-order it here.