After a successful debut EP in 2010, The Shakers, from Los Angeles, get louder and more confident with their latest album, Oh So Loud. Released this past November, this ten-piece album delivers a variety of high-energy rock and blues sounds behind feisty lyrics written by Jodie Schell and Chris Lee.
When you hear Jodie’s vocals, she immediately gets your attention. Her supreme soprano is unexpected and squeaky sweet, and at other times so wild and heavy. This girl can rock. And her band mates, Blane Barker, Chris Lee, and Nick Woods strike the lighting to carry the record far up in the volume dial.
“Hey Lil Darlin” is a tantalizing opening track. It starts off with bluesy swagger and builds into a kick-ass rock chorus. Jodie sees herself in it as a “shaker,” and a “breaker,” and after couple songs into the album, it’s pretty clear she isn’t kidding. They are confident enough to stop in the middle of a song just to come back furiously the way Janis Joplin or Heart would do. The riffs are deadly, and that is expected for The Shakers’ fans, but if you are new to the band, welcome to our church.
All songs in Oh So Loud have their own unique sound. “Oh Daddy,” for example, has theatrical tones and you begin to hear a little bit of Gwen Stefani in the style of Jodie’s vocals. I’m not complaining here, I think it’s genius. The steady drumbeats may be ska-influenced, and its catchy lyrics will definitely make this one a fan favorite.
The Shakers prove they are masters at their craft, at such young age. By simplifying it down to its essence, it must rock. Sometimes that is done by focusing on the playfulness of few words repeating over and over. In fact, I had to count that there are twenty eight words altogether in “Right Now.” This song gets sexy and jazzy with its lyrics and it’s nice to hear this style on a track that is well, oh so loud. Another track that adds soul and blues is “Real Fast Plane” where Lee shows off those guitar vibrations, and the aftershocks get under your skin like a hot summer sun. “It’s Me,” where the hard drum-pounding intro matches the sassy lyrics, is a party of a song; the megaphone effect, the raw energy embody why the album is titled “Oh So Loud.” But the track it’s oh so good and hopefully gets played longer and louder when performed live.
“Bad Thing” is an aggressive track, a la Heart, that really highlights Jodie’s vocals. “Bad Thing” has dynamics like “Barracuda.” (And, that’s not a bad thing.) The rock gets softer and sweeter in “Gimme Honey,” and their closing track “Already Gone” brings you back to speed with fast-paced wild energy that may even invite mosh pits to the floor.
You never know what to expect when the CD player/ipod clicks to the next track. At times you even we get to hear Chris Lee and Jodie Schell fight it off in a southern greased-lightning style opera. Listen to “Tail Lights,” and you will know what I mean.