Shook Ones are a nostalgic band for me, they were the most active during my teenage years and I associate them with that time period. I’m sure like most of their fans, I was surprised they released a new full length given that it’s been five years since they’ve released any new music. The band never officially announced they were breaking-up (because they never did) or announced a hiatus from music (because it really wasn’t one). Really the Shook Ones are just like the rest of us—they have lives, families, responsibilities—and sometimes those things come before music. I get that, we all get that. That being said, at first I was a bit afraid to listen to their new record Body Feel.
I’ve heard it time and time again where a once successful hardcore punk band releases a new record after years of silence, and that record falls short on connecting with a more mature fanbase. It’s hard to pull off a mature hardcore punk record and have it be more than just a novelty, but Shook Ones have managed to do the near impossible. For a band that was once heavily compared to every other hardcore punk bands in the scene and always seemed to be in the shadow of Lifetime specifically, Shook Ones have really come into their own on Body Feel. It’s becoming rarer for me to be excited about new hardcore punk music or maybe my standards are just higher, either way, Body Feel is the perfect adult punk record I’ve heard in a long time.
The album kicks off with “Night Blind,” which sounds like a classic Shook Ones song with reminiscent nods to Lifetime. Despite the nostalgic sound, the song also explores new levels of elevation for the band. Instead of the song remaining on 10 the entire time, it’s more dynamic all around from the vocals to the guitars to the drums. The elevation is even more apparent in the next track, “Should He Be Driving?”. I’m really into how the song slows down halfway through the track allowing vocalist Scott Freeman’s voice to shine and deliver the perfect amount of grit. Also to Freeman’s credit, the lyrics on “Should He Be Driving?” are some of my favorite on the entire album:
“See all the walls with the errant engravings/Tidings written so bold and plain.
Too week to see what we should know: weather can’t be controlled.”
“So Much Camo” is a decent song that’s short and sweet. On its own it’s probably the weakest song on the album simply because it’s not exploring the same amount of depth as the previous tracks, but with such a short song that’s not surprising. I do however see its place on the record, especially with lyrics like “Distorted vision of a life that we hunt, but can’t find.” “No Bucket” was the most surprising track for me, but in the best way possible. The energy of the record at first appears to fall off with this track but picks back up near the end making this one of the best songs on Body Feel. The way the melodic guitars and drums blend together is damn near magical. And on top of that, “No Bucket” really shines because it stresses what can happen when a band actually takes their time making music instead of releasing something just for the sake of expectations.
My favorite song on the record is “Rhymes with Robbed,” because not only am I a sucker for a catchy song, but the music and lyrics form such a perfect marriage. The vocals start seconds before the drum kicks in, and that’s it, I’m instantly drawn into the song. And again, Freeman impresses with his lyrics as he manages to emphasize and play with even the simplest of words. “Primer” is a nice slow and lyrically simple song, and coming after a track like “Rhymes with Robbed,” its placement on the record is spot on. I love the vibe of “Mercer….Fuck.”—it’s fast, catchy, and bold—the exact song needed to pick back up the momentum on the record.
“Turn off the Stove Already” and “You Missed a Button” are solid tracks that really round out the record as a whole. “Feels Like Red” starts out fast and loud, but has a surprisingly subtle breakdown in the middle of the song. Like the closer “Daytime Television,” both songs fade away and almost abruptly end. I like the tone that this creates because it doesn’t feel like the songs are incomplete, but more so creates a dramatic effect that really emphasizes the music just played. Shook Ones have managed to explore musical depths on Body Feel that I don’t think they’ve ever been able to before. Despite the gap in releasing music, the band sounds stronger and more collaborative than ever proving that it’s still possible to release an inspiring hardcore punk record.
8.7 / 10
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Shook Ones will be releasing their new album, Body Feel, via Revelation Records on October 19th. You can check out their new track, "Night Blind" after the jump.
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