At Action Park

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At Action Park
Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 24, 1994
RecordedMarch 1994
Southern Studios, London; Studio Black Box, Noyant la Gravoyere, France
GenrePost-hardcore, math rock, noise rock
LabelTouch and Go
Shellac chronology
At Action Park
The Futurist

At Action Park is the first full-length record by Shellac, released in 1994. The title is unrelated to the infamous New Jersey theme park, Action Park, which closed in 1996 due to numerous fatalities. The drummer, Todd Trainer, came up with the title of the fictional park because it sounded cool.[citation needed]


The release came in a folded and hand-pressed sleeve which is referred as uni-pak style album jacket. The inner sleeve shows artwork with four microphones, the record sleeve shows an illustration of the fictional Action Park on one side, and a lengthy medical text Resuscitation from apparent death by electric shock on the other side (the text was found in an old electronics textbook of Weston's). The Vinyl had inscriptions in the run-out groove of both sides, reading: "Smoking is as natural as breathing. They've been doing it since before I was born... ... which is a shame, because I could have invented it. - Todd Stanford Trainer 1994"


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[1]
Chicago Sun-Times3.5/4 stars[2]
Chicago Tribune3.5/4 stars[3]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music4/5 stars[4]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide4/5 stars[5]

The album received highly positive reviews on release. Greg Kot wrote that the "music is still punishing in the extreme, with melody subservient to groove and dynamics, and the human voice just another instrument in a maelstrom", going on to write that "Albini uses his guitar more for color and texture rather than as a lead instrument, while bassist Bob Weston and drummer Todd Trainer create a vicious spin-cycle groove, punctuated by thrilling ebbs and leaps in volume and tempo" and called the engineering "extraordinary".[3]

Retrospectively, AllMusic's Mark Deming wrote that despite Albini's continued obsession with "sex, violence, and anti-social behavior" from his Big Black days and while "the hard, metallic guitar figures of "Pull the Cup" and "Song of the Minerals" were as uncompromisingly abrasive as ever", the album revealed "a band more musically intelligent and imaginative" than his former band.[1] Sputnikmusic called the album "abrasive, arty, nasty, noisy, innovative and unique" going on to call Shellac "proof that there is still massive scope for experimentation and carving out new sounds with a standard guitar, bass, drums lineup in the indie-rock format.[6]

In 2012, Fact ranked it the 18th best album of the 1990s, calling it "brilliantly angular [...] Combining Minutemen-esque grooves that feel like they could last forever with spit-riddled, sneering vocals and a storming rhythm section, there are few albums that sound as simultaneously doomed and driven as At Action Park."[7]

Track listing[edit]

1."My Black Ass[8]"3:00
2."Pull the Cup"4:12
3."The Admiral"2:21
5."Song of the Minerals"4:24
6."A Minute"3:40
7."The Idea of North"3:42
8."Dog and Pony Show"3:59
9."Boche's Dick"1:38
10."Il Porno Star"5:14
Total length:37:03





  1. ^ a b Deming, Mark. "At Action Park – Shellac". AllMusic. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
  2. ^ DeRogatis, Jim (November 20, 1994). "Shellac, 'At Action Park' (Touch & Go)". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on November 18, 2018. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
  3. ^ a b Kot, Greg (October 6, 1994). "Albini's Back". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
  4. ^ Larkin, Colin (2009). "Shellac". The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (4th ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-199-72636-1. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
  5. ^ Kot, Greg (2004). "Shellac". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. p. 731. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  6. ^ a b [1]
  7. ^ [2]
  8. ^ "Shellac - At Action Park". Discogs.