2006 has seen the release of plenty of outstanding records from melodic hardcore bands, and as the year is coming to a close you might think the best of the best have already graced us with their presence. If so, then think again. Shook Ones' Facetious Folly Feat has defied all expectations and lands at the top of the heap of truly "great" melodic hardcore records this year.
The band's first outing, last year's Sixteen, was a solid but pretty standard record that did not really contain anything too terribly memorable. Quite frankly, there is a stark difference in the overall quality between Sixteen and Facetious Folly Feat, and it is one that is very much in the band's favor. The most notable difference is that the music proves to be varied, much more melodic, and flows with the vocals perfectly. Oh yeah, and it packs one hell of a punch from beginning to end.
It is my theory, though I have yet to test it, that some of Facetious Folly Feat's songs could singe the beard off of any nearby hipsters if played in their vicinity, due to how blazingly hot they are. "Carms Race," "S M R T," "Virginia Beach Vanity Plate," and "The Drop" are prime examples of fast melodic hardcore fused with the candy-coated shrapnel-esque vocals being done the way it was meant to be.
Vocalist Scott Freeman's vocals tread familiar territory as he can at times channel Kid Dynamite/None More Black's Jason Shevchuk, but this is not a bad thing. Do not be concerned that Shook Ones are a Kid Dynamite rip-off, even though the similarity is present, because the band clearly has their own style. One song in particular, "Ebb and Flow," has Freeman singing with only an electric guitar to back him up. Not only is it something that is completely unexpected for a band like Shook Ones to attempt but also it is an example of something Kid Dynamite probably never would have done. It almost sticks out in a bad way, mostly because of the placement right in the middle of the album.
Freeman is nearly impossible to understand without the lyric sheet, and thankfully the booklet included is nicely laid out with all of the lyrics clearly printed, allowing the listener to attempt to follow along. Freeman's lyrics are well-written and often personal reflections on life, and are a breath of fresh air in most cases, such as in the song "First Lunch, Then War" where he criticizes religious fanatics: So if life is just a bridge / would you just run across it? / This bridge is my life / and I've got rivets to drive / and I've got views to enjoy / without you. Yet one of the most unique aspects of the lyrics is that there is absolutely no intentional poetic flow present. And while this is true, he makes it work incredibly well while singing.
Shook Ones definitely stepped it up on Facetious Folly Feat and showed what they are capable of: songs with pop, heart, and edge, all while keeping it brief so it does not wear out its welcome. The hooks present in the songs often appear without notice, putting a premium on variety within tracks that are already short and sweet, thus creating an album full of songs that are extremely memorable and damn fun to listen to. Songs like "First Lunch, Then War" and the awesome closer, "Penn Cove Muscles," have been stuck in my head for well over a month now, and I see no reason to want to drown them out.
9.1 / 10
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