The second in a series of classic vinyl reissues featuring original artwork painstakingly restored and hot-stamped with gold foiling. Beneath The Shadows is the second studio album by the American hardcore punk band T.S.O.L. (True Sounds of Liberty), released in 1982 through Alternative Tentacles. With the addition of keyboardist Greg Kuehn to the lineup, the band moved away from punk rock in favor of a gothic rock sound in the vein of The Damned and Siouxsie and the Banshees. Although the album was critically well received, it was all too much for their hardcore punk fans at the time, and after an appearance playing live in Penelope Spheeris’ 1984 film Suburbia, founding members Jack Grisham and Todd Barnes left the band and for the classic line-up it was all over until they reunited 16 years later.
Our take: Dink Records brings this American punk masterpiece, T.S.O.L.’s second album from 1982, back into print. Unconstrained by the lack of ambition that kept most American punk bands ghettoized in the underground, with Beneath the Shadows T.S.O.L. created a sound and a record that could stand alongside any of the bigger-budget, pop-chart-troubling records by bands like the Buzzcocks, the Stranglers, the Damned, or Siouxsie and the Banshees. Beneath the Shadows’ closest soundalike is the Damned circa The Black Album, when they reveled in Beatles-inspired pomposity without losing their ability to write a great hook (case in point: “Wait for the Blackout”). Similarly, Beneath the Shadows is a dense and lush record, with the guitars, keyboards, and vocals fighting for center stage. When all three players go for the gold—as they do on the brilliant title track—it’s orgiastic, melodies bombarding you from every direction. Really, though, there isn’t a dud on the entire record. If you’re a fan of the bands I mentioned, or if you’re a fan of T.S.O.L.’s earlier, equally brilliant records who never ventured on to album #2, get this in your ears right away. While this reissue is free from frills (only upgrading the jacket with foil stamping and embossing), it sounds great and it’s the quickest way to get this brilliant record on your turntable.