Shellshock Lullaby is a solo project from Russ Nelson, who comes from Butte, Montana. That is literally the most interesting thing about this record. Shades of Grey is aptly titled, and its dull pop-rock tirade merely passes through different stereotypes before crashing out into nothingness.
Everything about Shades of Grey screams ‘cliché’, from the acoustic intro and outro to the whiny pop-punk vocals. The title track is all about problems with a girl (surprise, surprise), and drones on and on about how he’s moving on and this girl’s gonna get what’s coming to her and please… give me a break. There’s absolutely no bite to it, or any of these songs. The chorus is completely lost within layers of riffs that attempt to be clever. There’s a slight improvement in ‘I’ve Walked That Road’, which at least has a few interesting hooks, but apart from that, it sounds exactly like its predecessor. ‘All I Need’ tries to introduce some atmosphere with a sprinkling of piano, before launching into a verse riff that intends to be soaring but simply fails to take flight. It’s almost as if there’s a different vocalist in play in ‘The Look in Your Eyes’, but sadly, it just slides back into the same old routine. Nelson attempts some really weird tapping in the instrumental towards the end, and it just completely interrupts the whole flow of the song. And of course, it wouldn’t be complete without a completely acoustic ballad, which features some background strings and piano, offering forth an awkward declaration of distant love.
There’s a huge oversaturation of music like this out there at the moment and maybe, in another time and another place, this record might have ended up more likeable than it is. But as it stands, it’s on the weaker end of the spectrum. Even the latest Avril Lavigne album has more depth than this, and that’s saying something.
1.5 out of 5 high fives!