Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Album Review: Shannon and the Clams -Dreams In The Rat House

Shannon and the Clams
Dreams In The Rat House
**** out of *****

The retro trio from Oakland known as Shannon and the Clams have put out a few albums of garage rocking tunes but Dreams In The Rat House is their first release for the consistently intriguing Hardly Art label. The first thing that instantly jumps out is the production/lo-fi appeal of this album, sounding straight out of 1958 the texture, fuzz and aura are all top notch adding to the overall excellent sound of the songs.  

Caught somewhere in the vortex of Doo-Wop/Garage Rock/Rockabilly/Punk the trio (Shannon Shaw, Cody Blanchard, Ian Amberson) seem to play with all the genre's easily and with real heart.  At times they can sound like a lightweight version of The Oblivians ("Bedrock" and "Rat House") while others they are prime candidates for the Phil Spector Ronettes or Crystals treatment ("Into A Dream").  

Disk opener "Hey Willy" sets the perfect tone with it's jangle guitar lines, muffled vocals, background screeches and thumping drums. The first single "Rip Van Winkle"  takes the sleeping story to a tambourine shaking high with its 50's rock energy sparseness.

Other album highlights are "Ozma" with it's thumping tom drums and twinkling guitar lines, the lament laden "In The River" and the dustbowl sounding gem "Heads or Tails" which talks lovingly about Hobo's sippin' Rye and sleepin' under the stars.   

Not everything is perfect, a track like "Unlearn" is over four minutes of a one note trick that gets stale fast, but the pure feel and passion injected into the album wins in the end.  Dreams In The Rat House is retro in all the right ways.  

This one came out of nowhere and really won RtBE over.  Thanks to Jason from Hardly Art for sending this album our way as it is a real winner.
Support Shannon and the Clams here, buy the album here, catch them live here and peep some samples below:
"Rip Van Winkle"

You can also grab the Mp3 of "Rip Van Winkle" and "Into A Dream"

No comments:

Post a Comment