Shelby (named after 1960’s race-car builder Carol Shelby) have been kicking around New York City’s club circuit for a few years, yet they’ve inexplicably avoided the spotlight lesser local acts have received. This is surprising because Luxury of Time, the band’s debut album, is full of driving and atmospheric arena-ready rock. At its best it recalls early-U2, Radiohead, The Strokes, ’70s power-pop, Interpol and Suede. The band is centered on the duo of singer/guitarist Kenny Cummings and bassist/songwriter Phil Schuster (who also does keyboard programming for Elvis Costello and, um, Patti LaBelle). Drummers have rotated in and out of the band, with Blonde Redhead’s Simon Pace handling most of the pounding on this album (perhaps returning the favor to Cummings for his work on Misery Is A Butterfly).
The songs come charging right out of the gate with the anthemic “The Golden Boy” and “Loudon Wainwright” which is perhaps the best song ever written on the subject of singer-songwriter Loudon Wainwright. “The Wait” starts off sounding like The Strokes “Meet Me In The Bathroom,” but ultimately packs far more visceral wallop. The only song which falls flat is “Jet Blast (Shame)” and that’s just because the vocals sound uncomfortably like Journey’s Steve Perry. The band recover quickly with “Salt Of The Earth,” which has nothing to do with The Rolling Stones song of the same name, instead sounding like a Radiohead song from The Bends. From here on in its smooth sailing until the album ends. Excellent stuff, from a band to watch. Their live show rips too.