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Album Review

Remember those heady days of the mid-'60s? A time when girls wanted to be as thin as Twiggy not Kate Moss, when a Slicker was a lipstick, not a raincoat, Heaven Scent was a perfume not the waft of the second coming, and all of the U.S. celebrated an invading wave of foreigners and feted them like royalty. Well, you may not, but the Shake certainly do, and their debut album Kick It pays tribute to that halcyon age. At times the quartet wear their heroes on their sleeves, as on "Outcast," an homage to the Yardbirds. The Small Faces left their imprint as well, notably on "8 O'clock" and "Devil's Side," while the Kinks get a bow on "Princes & Kings."

That latter song, though, boasts a hard rock guitar solo the likes of which the Kinks themselves never played. In truth, for all the Shakes debt to the '60s, they know it only second-hand, even their parents were probably no more than children back then. Which is why the group feel perfectly comfortable on "Princes" combining a post-punk sound with a British Invasion-styled song, and lace it with a hard rock edge. "Devil" slyly incorporates a melodic punk feel to its Brit beat sound, while "Manic Boogie" plays havoc with the decade's stylistic gradients, strewing a big-band tinge, a proggy guitar solo, a surf guitar riff, and a touch of hardcore and metal to a blues based boogie. "Manic" indeed. But that's a bit showboating. "Stop Fighting" is more representative, a bouncy, infectious, pop-flecked number with a driving rhythm and subtle stylistic shifts. On this track, Eliad Shapiro's keyboards absolutely shine as he slides from jazzy passages into champagne styling out through psychedelia and back again. But Shapiro refuses to be boxed in, because simultaneously that's him on lead guitar tossing out incendiary hard rock licks. Who knows how that works live? But it makes for a rollicking album, and for all the Shakes' stylistic intricacies, in the end it's their melodies that are paramount, each one catchier than the next. "Princes" and "Devils Side" truly do kick it, "Outcase" is absolutely incendiary, "8 O'clock" and "Let Me" sparkling pop fare, "Fighting"'s lethal, and "Manic"'s enough to drive one right over the edge. This is the '60s, and although not quite how some may remember it, true to the spirit and talent of the time.


Formed: 2005 in New York, NY

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

The Shake are a young and scrappy guitar quartet with a solid grounding in hooks and harmonies. Both their sound and their look are akin to the first wave of American power pop bands that started appearing in the late '70s: the Pop, the Quick, Paul Collins' Beat, the Knack, and other skinny-tie bands with short sharp shocks for names, filtered through the influences of Little Steven's Underground Garage. The group was formed in New York City in the summer of 2005 by high-school pals Jon Merkin (lead...
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Kick It, The Shake
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