Sunday, April 25, 2010

Review: Shake Some Action "Fire and Ice"

In April of last year, we reported on the unique process Shake Some Action! was using to record their third full-length album (see here). Briefly, the band decided it would be cool to post rough mixes of their new tracks and get feedback from the fans to help the album evolve. It provided an insightful view into the writing and recording process, and "Fire and Ice" is the result. In the words of the band, "Fire and Ice" has "a more sophisticated and modern sound with a nod to Madchester, 80s jangle pop and classic 60s songcraft".

"Fire and Ice" follows the sophomore effort, "Sunny Days Ahead", a truly radiant power pop affair with influences from Flamin' Groovies to Teenage Fanclub (review here). "Fire and Ice" does indeed run hot and cold, the fire being ignited at the beginning with intensely infectious tracks like "Stand and Deliver", "Touch the Sky", and the title track. "Can You Feel?" is a beautiful mid-tempo number that is one of my favorites on the CD. After this comes the cooler part of "Fire and Ice", but things heat back up again at the close with great rockers like "Where Is The Sun?" and the harmonica-laced party closer, "You Can't Say No", which reminds me of The Soup Dragons.

Vocalist and chief songwriter James Hall, which is a near dead ringer for Dave Faulkner of The Hoodoo Gurus, sounds better than ever, using more harmonies and falsettos to augment the melodies he belts out. I'm not so sure his voice fits as comfortably with some of the sparser material in the middle of the album (the ice part of the record), but the first four songs on "Fire and Ice" constitute the brightest, most enjoyable 15 minute block the band has recorded to date.

The album also finds James Hall asking a lot of questions: "Can You Feel?", "How Does It Feel?", and "Where Is The Sun". These introspective lyrics, which are also infused with meditations on the downward spiral of current times, is another leap ahead for the band.

"Fire and Ice" will be available May 4, 2010. There is no doubt "Fire and Ice" will satisfy fans of Shake Some Action! and find some new recruits as well. I am a huge fan of Hoodoo Gurus, and Shake Some Action! is my new Hoodoo Gurus.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 3, 4, 8

Shake Some Action! on MySpace. Official site. Get it.

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