Saturday, 2 April 2016

Album: The Shaker Hymn - Do You Think You're Clever?

The Shaker Hymn Do You Think You're Clever

The Shaker Hymn - Waters Of Sea Change

Info: Cork indie four-piece The Shaker Hymn just released their second album, Do You Think You're Clever?, yesterday with a launch night at Connolly's of Leap in their home county. The sophomore release is a collection of songs that were written about modern-day lethargy, and abandoned romances lost in the search for the bigger picture. The album is The Shaker Hymn's throwback to groups who soundtracked their teenage years; the bitterness of The La's self titled debut, Pulp's mid 90's witty voyeurism and LCD Soundsystem's timely narrative of the early noughties.

Do You Think You're Clever? is an interesting mix of notable and subtle influences and sounds spanning an expansive timeline from late 1960's psych and garage, to 90's indie and much more in between and after. Some of these sounds and personal reference points caught me out, thinking the album might be in and around the 90's inspired indie sound of first single 'Trophy Child' (below). On opener 'I Don't Ever Want To See The World' I was being serenaded by Scott Walker and Elton John as one courtesy of front-man Caoilian Sherlock's vocals, strings and retro guitar riffs adding considerable pomp to a strong start to the album.

The Shaker Hymn - Trophy Child

The Cure, The Smiths and a younger Nick Cave pop up vocally and musically on second track, 'Waters of Sea Change' (top), and you can also hear strands of the jangle-pop of self-proclaimed influence The La's in the guitar progressions. It's a warm and mellow number whose psychedelic lead guitar riffs towards the end take you downriver to hazyville. On 'Sucking It Out' The Shaker Hymn unapologetically provide us with the 13th track from Supergrass' In It For The Money, that is, until they soar off into 70's glam rock territory with gravelly vocals and searing guitars.

Proceedings calm slightly on the trippy 'Hole In The Head', a seamlessly enjoyable listen which meanders gently around your ears, like a fusion of George Harrison's 'My Sweet Lord' and Lennon's '#9 Dream', at this point I'm wondering where the lead vocalist can go next such is the variety of ranges he possesses. I think that's enough of the comparisons as we move onto the album's title track, a proper indie-rock barnstormer, acoustic and distorted electric guitars complimenting each other nicely on what is a definite contender for a future single from Do You Think You're Clever?

'Baltic Heart' is a wonderful blend of classic 70's folk, sunny Californian surf-pop and anthemic glam rock with a country guitar twang. There's attitude and swagger on 'Another One Of You', and before it gets too late I need to remark on how much I've enjoyed the lead guitar playing on this album from Robbie Barron, I think I could have a good stab of what's in his record collection but that's for another day. The album closes with the suitably reflective 'The Age of Reason', a mix of tempos, bouncing between calm, energetic and operatic, it feels like The Shaker Hymn have reached their destination and are subconsciously acknowledging a fully earned sense of humble satisfaction.

See The Shaker Hymn live - 

Tour Dates

April 7 - Roisin Dubh, Galway
April 8 - Kenny's, Lahinch Co. Clare
April 22 Coughlans', Cork

May 6 - McGing's, Westport
May 7 - Tir Na Nog, Cavan
May 13 - DeBarra’s, Clonakilty
May 21 - Pine Lodge , Myrtleville
May 22 - Levis's, Ballydehob
May 26 - The Bernard Shaw, Dublin

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