Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Shakin' Babies - Stoked Casual (2013)

Considering that FMLY mostly seems to cater to electronic aficionados, I was surprised and delighted that one of the first bands to open FMLY Fest Brooklyn was The Shakin' Babies.  The Minneapolis fivesome play jangly garage rock with a notable twist; an inescapable doo-wop punch. It's old fashioned rock 'n roll with a more modern lyrical take.

"Mary Wants to Rock" takes the more traditional rock approach - a story of an uptight god-fearing girl seduced by rock n' roll (a very real fear in its heyday) while "Katrina" and "Dreams of You" are more of the doo wop fare. They're pleasant and enjoyable. Where Shakin' Babies and Stoked Casual really shine though is when they update the typical with far more modern or usual conventions. Devil-dealing "Shake Hands", feisty rabble-rousing "Wait a Minute", or drug-fueled "Blue Sky Blondes" are the album's real gems; the hints that Stoked Casual isn't some mere leftover from that bygone era. In an album built on rock n' roll conventions tracks like "Wait a Minute"and "Easy Meal" that pair singer Jess Olsen's powerhouse vocals with the bands propensity for fun, tuneful jams are much appreciated.

All in all, Stoked Casual is a pretty great album. It's tracks are short and to the point, pay proper homage to their inspirations without merely replicating them, and just damn good. Stoked Casual is an album you can listen to endlessly and never get tired of - it's melodies are simple and memorable and the jams are the stuff contemporary rock bands tend to lack. Thankfully there's bands like The Shakin' Babies that have no problem mining music history to show them all how it's done.

You can listen/download The Shakin' Babies' Stoked Casual via their record label's Bandcamp.

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