Shook Ones have really blown me away with the latest album, The Unquotable A.M.H (what does this stand for? anyone? no, seriously…get back to me on that)
It’s been called too poppy and whatever, but I’ve already probably jammed this latest one more than the last two combined. All my love for this album is poured into this review I did for Racketmag.com:
Amongst positive feedback, it only takes a couple message-board publicized disappointments to have your curiosity sparked and an expectation set. The new Shook Ones LP The Unquotable A.M.H. has already been deemed “too poppy” and been compared to Blink 182. While some wouldn’t find the latter to be insulting, it’s assumed the contributor meant it as such.
Depending on your stance on poppy-ness, an initial anxious listen might prove to be relievable. While they’ve infused guitar riffs with more harmonies, slowed the tempo and pumped some extra melody into the “whoa-ohs”, but they haven’t changed their signature sound. It’s still fast-tempo melodic hardcore, but rather than prominent Kid Dynamite influence, this album leans more in the direction of None More Black and Self-titled-era Lifetime, and hey – most kids went apeshit over the latter mentioned pop-a-thon.
If you’ve deemed The Unquotable A.M.H. too poppy – don’t forget about Shook Ones liberal implication of “Whoa-ohs” and rhythmic hand-clapping on the previous two full lengths – Sixteen and Facetious Folly Feat. According to their myspace, Shook Ones are self-proclaimed “hardcore and pop-punk”, and that’s the simple truth – they’re formed from the ashes of prominent hardcore bands, showing the fun, light-hearted side of hardcore kids. They’ve found an awesome medium between pop-punk and hardcore. Both genres have been loud and clear in every Shook Ones release. In the pop department, The Unquotable A.M.H. doesn’t up the ante too much. While it’s not something you’d expect to hear on Deathwish records, it’d still be startling from Drive-Thru records.
The most prominent change can be seen by glancing at the track lengths. The Unquotable is at least doubled in length because the tempo has slowed, hitting the mid-tempo mark. The tempo change is most apparent on tracks “Birds on Ice”, “ Double-Knot That”, “T. Monk”, and the closer “Tip The Weatherman”. Shook Ones typically push their tempo to the limit – so decline was the only option for change. This decision has allowed Shook Ones to more establish their own style and begin pulling away from that cloned Kid Dynamite sound. The tempo change made room for more creativity, harmonies, emotions, and clearer vocals. Scott Freeman’s vocals still manage to charm while simultaneously hoarse and slurred – similar to the influential Lifetime. This LP has allowed for clearer vocals, making nearly a fifth of lyrics decipherable – exciting!
Third time’s the charm. While the previous two made for fun background music, this LP demands attention and has earned the “Repeat: All” setting on iTunes this week. A standout track is “T. Monk”, otherwise the entire album is a standout track. If you’re into old Saves the Day, Lifetime, Kid Dynamite, None More Black, or Latterman – you want to hear this – it’ll only take 31.4 minutes of your time.
I think I found my favorite album of 2009! Get into it, and if you’re in Europe check their space for tour dates. Also look for them at Sound and Fury fest.
…curse my desire to travel keeping me from a zillion awesome shows constantly. *self pitiful sighhhhhhhhhhhh*