The first full-length from Philadelphia’s The Shakes is similar to wrecking your bike, walking away without a scratch and being totally okay with it. In fact, this is the kind of crash that leaves you pretty pumped, an adrenaline buzz that thrusts you toward your destination or nowhere in particular. This indeed seems to be The Shakes’ modus operandi: fully fledged jams with energy to spare.
The Shakes utilize a variety of genres from rhythm and blues to punk and everything in between. The melody is driven through electric organ backed by groovy bass and animalistic drumming. The dual female/male vocals of Christina Halladay and Sam Richer are somewhat indecipherable at times, but this does detract too much from the sing-along nature of the album.
Tracks like “Get Yers” and “Piracetime” are so replete with frenetic energy I kept waiting for the disc to skip of its own volition. As crazy as it gets, Pat Lamothe’s bass keeps it all in check as James Blinstrub’s pounding away at the kit pushes it ever forward.
On “Graveyard” it’s hard to tell if someone actually died or if they just wish someone would die. “Since you’ve been gone,” they sing “ I don’t know what’s right to do.” Sarcasm, seemingly, is the new black. This could be how The Shakes, while sounding familiar, are able to be completely original. Humor, after all, is hardest of all the arts because it is freest of self-loathing.
Picture Chuck Berry teaming up with The Misfits, a dash of Electric Mayhem (yes, the house band from “The Muppet Show”) and a cereal bowl of whiskey and you’ll get The Shakes. (John McCormick)
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