Shelf Lives confront ‘the crisis of masculinity’ on ‘All The Problems’

Shelf Lives press photo
Photo credit: Derek Bremner

Rising electro-punk two-piece Shelf Lives have released new single All The Problems – which will feature on a new EP due for release this autumn. The new single follows NME describing the duo as “the extroverted electro-punk duo we need right now”, and their recent stint across the UK in support of Cardiff band Panic Shack. All The Problems arrives ahead of a busy spring and summer of festival appearances at Liverpool Sound City, The Great Escape, Glastonbury, London Calling, FOCUS Wales, Sŵn Festival and more. Full live dates listed below.

Co-produced by SPACE (Do Nothing, IDLES), All The Problems confronts the crisis of masculinity with one of Shelf Lives’ most gentle, melodic choruses. “Tell me something you like about yourself,” the duo sing softly in unison, evoking a question therapists often ask and most people can’t answer. Seeking the reasons behind male rage, the track balances extreme acts of violence with the jarringly passive way the wider world processes them.

Speaking more on the release of the new single, the duo said: “To be vague about it, “All the Problems” is a casual chat about the suppression of emotions, specifically among those who identify as males and what it could lead to as a result. The track goes through the motions of seeking a reason behind the resulting rage and offsets extreme, sometimes violent, acts with the World’s passive and unsettling way of dealing with them. There’s nothing casual about the topic and events itself, yet, socially we’ve reached a ridiculous, dangerous place where we feel like in order to survive we need to be. Essentially, so we can… “get on with our day”.” Watch the video via YouTube below or listen by other means here.

Originating from Toronto, Canada and Northampton in the UK respectively, Shelf Lives consists of vocalist Sabrina Di Giulio and guitarist/producer Jonny Hillyard – who now both reside in South London.

“It’s as close to real life as you can get without feeling really depressed about it,” Sabrina offers by way of summarising Shelf Lives. The duo’s music feels chaotic, tense, and wired. Pairing hardcore punk’s brief blasts of energy with electroclash’s minimal and sleazy sonics, they raise themes of societal collapse and hyper-consumerism with a warped smile. The result taps into headspace that’s as rotten as it is dopamine-flooded, with pent-up frustration and pop hooks tossed together in a way that makes, in their own words, “the fucked up seem fun.”

Recent singles Skirts & Salads and BITE will join All The Problems on a new EP due for release later this year via Modern Sky. It follows the outfit’s widely praised debut mini-album ‘Yes, offence’ – released on the band’s own Not Sorry Mom Records imprint in April 2022.

On the face of it, Shelf Lives make catchy, energetic pop songs that bring the abrasiveness and physicality of punk back to a small, cramped house party setting. It’s music so rowdy you can practically feel the sweat on the ceiling and the sound of crushed cans under your feet. Every now and then, though, a hook or riff will cast a spotlight on what’s really going on: “It’s the ideas we’re fed versus the reality, and we try to incorporate that completely in our sound by talking about these hard topics in a digestible way,” Sabrina explains. “I think that’s why the songs work, because they have that juxtaposition between the lyrics and the sound,” Jonny adds. “I just want to flash in people’s faces how fucked up shit is.”

Since the release of their debut single Shelf Life in October 2021 Shelf Lives have made an immediate and uncontainable impact. From full UK + European tours with Skunk Anansie, to gracing the cover of Gigwise’s print magazine alongside Bob Vylan and HO99O9 toshows all across the UK with acts including THUMPER, Skating Polly, Dream Nails, Nuha Ruby Ra, Panic Shack and Sick Joy, the band also played 3 wildly acclaimed sets at Glastonbury 2022 and have been invited back to play the festival again this year.

Press and radio support has arrived thick and fast, too – from BBC 6 Music (Steve Lamacq and Amy Lamé) BBC Radio 1 (Jack Saunders, Alyx Holcombe and Gemma Bradley), NME, The Line Of Best Fit, Dork Magazine, UPSET Magazine, The Rodeo, Notion, The Independent, Gigwise and London In Stereo, as well as being selected as cover-stars of Spotify’s Hot New Bands and Fresh Finds UK & IE playlists.

Shelf Lives’ mission statement when they began was to “bring punk back to the house party“. They’ve done just that – but the party, has only just begun.

Shelf Lives’ new single All The Problems is out now. The duo embark on a busy schedule of live dates and festival appearances over the next few months and will release a new EP via Modern Sky later this year.

Live dates

APR 26 33 Oldham Street, Manchester
APR 28 Liverpool Sound City
APR 29 Stag & Dagger Festival, Edinburgh
APR 30 Stag & Dagger Festival, Glasgow
MAY 5 FOCUS Wales Festival
MAY 6 Are You Listening? Festival
MAY 9 Old Blue Last, London
MAY 11 The Great Escape Festival
MAY 19 London Calling (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
MAY 20 PLAY Festival (Eersel, Netherlands)
JUNE 22, Glastonbury Festival
JUNE 24, Glastonbury Festival
JULY 22, Leopallooza Festival
AUG 5 A Stone’s Throw Festival
AUG 12 Hummer Street Sesh Festival
SEP 2 The Roundhouse, London – TiffCuff Festival
SEP 7 Waves Vienna Festival (Vienna, Austria)
SEP 9 Chaplins, Bournemouth
OCT 21-22 Sŵn Festival

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