Review: Shelter

“When 20 Summers Pass”
(Victory Records)

Krishna-Core? To grasp the band Shelter, one must first come to grips with its singer, Ray Cappo who has done time as a monk and a full on airport hanging out Hare-Krishna disciple. And since a lot of the straight edge ideal translates into some of the same philosophies (especially in the areas of diet and respect of life), the concept doesn’t seem as strange as it initially sounds.

Cappo has recruited various (and ever changing) like-minded Krishna’s with an edge and created Shelter (with Tom Kapone of Quicksand and Handsome fame, lending production skills on their first attic conceived and one day practiced album). This newest of a sizable catalog shows the band still sharing the same spectrum of sound as the newer breeds of straight-edge hard-core bands and providing (expectedly) positive messages within a hard punk sound.

Cappo actually has a pretty good voice so there are a few harmonies in the chorus and lyrics are delivered with some degree of range (as opposed to bark in your ear repeatedly, which is more common within the genre). This isn’t super aggressive (as Krishna Monks don’t “blow up” very often) and with its positive messages, should be friendly enough to enable a lot of cross over audience. In fact, there is a certain element of radio structure (think the Offspring – especially in “Crushing Someone That You Love”) to give this an easy familiarity. Since the Krishna flag isn’t really waved in your face with the music, ones reaction to the spirituality that creates this will probably be more of a deciding factor than the music, and if I didn’t tell ya ahead of time, you might not guess until you either really diagnosed the lyrics or stuck the CD into your computer.

“When 20 Summers Pass” has a great enhanced CD feature with a lot of background and an insightful interview with Cappo. There is also a cool page by page outline of the “more members than Spinal Tap” revolving lineup and diagrams the rich history of how the band has maintained and evolved while claiming one-time members from the whose who of the last decade of hardcore – Youth of Today, Inside Out, 108, Texas is the Reason, Kingpin, Cro-mags, H20). Worthy of a listen as a band and charged with an attitude of higher purposes that don’t detract from the experience.

Review: Shelter - When 20 Summers Pass