By: Derek Spencer
In their submission email, The Shakes & Rumbles warn me that their album is “REALLY good”. This conceit makes me want to, in equal parts: sarcastically write a review from the perspective of a person who might describe themselves doing anything as “REALLY good,” write a scathing review that unfairly nitpicks at the mix/specific lyrics and makes disingenuous comparisons, and write an unreasonably brief review. I will strive to situate the following somewhere in the middle of all that.
Chapter Two, The Shakes & Rumbles’ 2014 EP release, is a cool collection of three anthemic party-rock songs, packed with all of the 4-to-the-floor rock’n’roll energy necessary to cause my leg to vigorously shake beneath my work desk (with the aid of several cups of hot, strong coffee). While the EP does capitalize lyrically on hip 2014 themes like ~love~ and ~sexy vampires~, The Shakes & Rambles are ultimately unable to disguise their lack of a bassist, despite valiant efforts at boosting the lows on each doubled guitar track and scooping out all tonal mids for spare parts (seriously, even the White Strips pick up a bass in the studio). Like many bands in the genre, The Shakes & Rumbles find it hard to touch their snare on the 2nd and 4th beats of each measure without doubling down on the floor tom as well, often providing the listener with low end drum hits on every. single. beat. With the low-end loaded up and the highs occupied mostly with a searing cymbal ambiance, instrumental sections often deliver a mid-range primarily focused on all the unwanted noise that a fuzz pedal can muster. It’s all pretty genius, if I’m being honest.
Vocally, we find here a duo that just won’t quit, thrashing the listener with a stream of melodic yells and shouts, generally conveying motifs like “fun”, “heterosexual”, and “vampires”. For example: “you know you’re my vampire queen/ the sexiest girl I’ve ever seen…I liked the way you used to dress.” Now imagine that line sang in an high-tenor vibrato by one of two singers, both of whom are possibly the lovechild of vocalists from The Scorpions, The Eagles of Death Metal, Van Halen, The Black Keys, and other dope bands.
Final Verdict: If I were scoring a vampire movie, I would use one of these songs for the rising action fight scene where nothing is at stake but all the characters are demonstrating hostilities/tensions while having a good romp to fun tunes.