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, Pablo Honey-era 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 Simon Pace from Blonde Redhead handling most of the pounding on this album (perhaps returning the favor to Cummings for helping out 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 packs more of a visceral wallop thanks to the supercharged production. The only song which falls flat is “Jet Blast (Shame)” where the vocals sound uncomfortably like Journey’s Steve Perry. The band recover quickly with the violin-enhanced “Salt Of The Earth”, which has nothing to do with The Rolling Stones song of the same name, instead sounding like the type of song that Radiohead would have put on 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.