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GREAT SHAKES • s/t (Gold Vinyl)• LP

GREAT SHAKES • s/t (Gold Vinyl)• LP

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Shield Recordings

Great Shakes are a four piece punk rock band from Netherlands and Belgium. Influenced by the likes of Hot Water Music, Alkaline Trio, Social Distortion and Green Day, Great Shakes play catchy, rough around the edges punk rock

The album begins with The Flood. Having never heard Great Shakes before hitting play, The Flood had to be a banger to start the album off well. Good news – banger. Showcasing a harder side of the band, there's a forceful feeling to the song. Urgent guitars and a well produced vocal really capture the listener’s attention and will have them wanting to hear how the album progresses. I was a little taken aback by the next song, Summertime Alone. It goes along a more Midwestern style punk sound rather than the intense skate punk showcased in The Flood. Played at a mid-tempo pace, the song cries out for some big sing-alongs throughout, including some huge "whoa-ohs". Great Shakes change things up again on the third song, Get A Little Closer. Going down more of a pop punk route, I was really hooked by the fantastic harmonies when I first listened to the song. It actually starts a little slowly for a track I have described as a pop punk song. It's not long before that fast guitar strumming comes in however and the energy of the track is upped. From then on you're in for a great journey throughout the remainder of the song.

November Star really shows off the band’s Hot Water Music influence. The vocals have some gravel added to them and the addition of some deep gang shouts really had me thinking of the Gainesville legends. November Star is one of my favourite songs on the album, it immediately had me tapping my toes to the fantastic melody as well as giving me the urge to throw my fists in the air for the gang vocals. The track is about getting over the death of somebody you care about and hoping that they are now at peace. Celebrating My Life is a fast paced Ramonescore song that put a big smile on my face. Starting out with the repeating lyric of "can't celebrate my life anymore" really gets the song stuck in your head. It's so simple but so brilliantly effective. If you're a fan of bands like The Copyrights or Dear Landlord then you will really enjoy this song. Ordinary Life brings us to the halfway mark of the album. Slowing things back down – the variation on this album is fantastic – Great Shakes deliver a more emotional performance on this track. It's a massive contrast to Celebrating My Life and really helps to keep the listener paying attention. Going back to that Midwestern feel, it's a song that not only tugs on your emotions but also gets stuck in your head.

The second half of the album begins with perhaps my favourite song on the whole album – Ego Complex. The song had me thinking of bands such as The Lawrence Arms and The Loved Ones, two of my favourites. The song contains a very impressive vocal display, the Great Shakes’ singer and the gang vocals and harmonies throughout are top notch. I'm a big fan of gang vocals and harmonies so the amount used on the track was very much welcomed. Falling Forever is a throwback to the early 2000s, with it reminding me of bands like Autopilot Off and Midtown. When these bands were around was also the time I was really getting into punk music so hearing this style had me reminiscing of past times. The track is about always feeling like things are wrong, trying to improve and not getting anywhere. The chorus on the song is a real stand out. The ninth song is titled Bitter Nights. Back to the poppier side of Great Shakes, despite the title, the song feels like it's a real burst of summer sunshine. The song is about having a bad time and doing your best to keep the negativity out of your life. I will forever find some enjoyment in bands taking a sad or downbeat topic and turning it into a song that just sounds so damn cheerful.

Confession is up next and continues the pop vibes. The song feels quite retrospective, as the singer looks at themself and talks about not speaking out when things are troubling you. It's quite an easy listen and travels along nicely without ever really hitting and big highs or lows. It's a super accessible song for any pop punk fans to get into Great Shakes. The penultimate song is named Never Gonna Die. Never Gonna Die really feels like it could be the album’s big finale with what is probably the biggest chorus on the album. The chorus shows Great Shakes acting in full defiance mode as they cry "never gonna die, never gonna die, never gonna die for you". This gives such a great feeling of empowerment and I imagine is fantastic live! The actual final song is fittingly titled Say Goodbye At The End. The track is an up-tempo and energetic way to finish the album with some great hooks and some fun sing-along moments. The song’s finale, where the whole bands shouts "say goodbye at the end", is perhaps a little cheesy but it's a lot of fun so I really don't mind. It ensures that the album finishes on the massive high and has you pumped for another listen.

Great Shakes are a brilliant new band. What I really enjoyed about the album was the sheer amount of variety on display. There's something for most fans of modern pop punk. It's hard to pigeon hole them into one group which makes them really interesting and they are definitely a band to keep an eye on.


01. The Flood
02. Summertime Alone
03. Get a Little Closer
04. November Star
05. Celebrate My Life
06. Ordinary Life 
07. Ego Complex
08. Falling Forever
09. Bitter Nights
10. Confesions
11. Never Gonna Die
12. Say Goodbye At The End

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