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Yesterday and Tomorrow's Shells

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Album Review

Though he bills himself as Libraness, Yesterday...and Tomorrow's Shells is essentially Ash Bowie's first release outside of the context and confines of Polvo and Helium. A collection of home recordings, the album has some songs that are over seven years old, and it shows — in a good way: the mix of tweaked, abrasive guitars and off-kilter but catchy melodies recalls indie rock's salad days in the early to mid-'90s. In particular, the moody, acoustic-based "No Separation" sounds a bit like an artier Folk Implosion ballad, while guitar workouts like "Grief Mechanism" and "Richard Petty" will make Polvo fans nostalgic. While the album was written and recorded over several years, all of its songs have a similarly spooky, spontaneous vibe, from skronky rockers like "Totempole" and "Face on Backwards" to Eastern and medieval-inspired noodling like "The Memory" and "You Are My Foreign Film." A mercurial, rough-around-the-edges collection, Yesterday's...and Tomorrow's Shells may not win Ash Bowie any new listeners, but it probably will please Helium and Polvo fans hungry for more of his intriguing work.

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