Its an odd thing how times change. Shelter , now perceived to be yesterday’s heroes, are in fact one of the scene’s oldest progenitors, with frontman Ray Cappo going back over 10 years, to the days of Youth of Today.
“Mantra” was the first album to get a proper release in the UK, after numerous releases on Revelation records, and though it might be odd to some to think of such a genre as Krishna-core, “Mantra”, though short and snappy at 33 minutes, doesn’t outstay it’s welcome.
From the opening “Message of the Bhagavat” to the closing “Metamorphosis”, this CD gives so many of its competitors a run for the money. Its 6 years old, but could have been released yesterday and still perfectly fitted in with the current pop-punk trend, which it’s pre-dated and outlasted. Everything Blink 182, Sum 41 and a plethora of imitators do is still paling in comparison to this, and its criminal to see time has passed this by. However, what gives Shelter the edge here is the insightful lyrics of Ray Cappo (also a Krishna Buddhist priest in his spare time), which while addressing a great many personal issues, are - – in tune with the music, upbeat and positive, while retaining a melodic sensibility that’s not constrained by the need for commerciality.
Indeed, If “Here We Go” (the top 43 single..) was re-released, it could do as well as many other newbies; but as this came out on Roadrunner (who seem to have a habit of dropping bands when instant returns don’t appear) and they’ve since moved to Century Media, that’s as realistic as expecting Slipknot to make an album of country-rock. But if nothing else, this album seems to be where the current pop-puink scene seems to have gained all its idea’s from, with heartfelt lyrics, catchy and melodic, yet unafraid to deal with harsh issues like the dominance of cruelty to animals in meateating culture, the pervasiveness of television and personal compromise of ideals.
Quite simply, an unrecognised and overlooked classic.Essential.
9Graham Reed's Score