Words & Thoughts by Keanan Barbour-March
The Shakers’s first full length album Oh So Loud presents some seriously good guitars with a tight pocket and a singer who goes all out, all the time. After a few quick listens, I was pretty excited… This girl has some pipes. And the band that’s backing, they know what they’re doing. Think two parts No Doubt meets some Seinfeld-sounding bass lines with hints of Red Hot Chili Peppers Cali-sound and bluesy guitar riffs from Chris Lee that know their place.
Songs like “Oh Daddy” get your head bobbing and your foot tapping along, and makes me want to channel Marty McFly’s Johnnie B. Goode dance. The band comes across as pretty well rounded, with songs such as “Tail Lights” throwing an almost blue grass or country feel. It’s one of those songs I searched my library for something similar, and I know it’s there, but I just can’t put a finger on it. Maybe some Mumford & Sons meets Dave Carter & Tracey Grammar? It definitely pulls in the No Doubt feel. “Real Fast Plane” throws some nice jazz style chords out there, and “Transfer” just screams for some punch brass lines.
Reviews online say they put on a great show. You Tubing for some visual proof brings up The Shakers live throughout the country. Look below for a sample of their style.
But after five or six full album listens, I’m not too hot on it. Not to say The Shakers aren’t talented – by all means they have a lot going for them, and they have a really tight sound. It’s just not for me. The album kind of gets to be too much aural stimulation with the lot of up-there, high-register yelling in “Hey Lil’ Darlin” and “Already Gone,” which is just… well, too much. “It’s Me” seems pretty tame with some interesting chording and off beat drumming, but when you listen to the building and layering and finally get to the chorus, “It’s Me” leaves me searching for my Next button. (dating TV show reference, anyone?)
Don’t get me wrong. It’s quite nice, with the spread of music styles and tightness in the pocket. Jodie Schell’s vocals are super powerful and soulful – not the typical airiness and auto tuned blech-ness that has dominated the music industry in the past decade. The album just feels a bit dated for me – it feels like a late 1990s Cali-rock sound. After two weeks and ten full album listens, I’m hitting Next.