Now on their third album, Shook Ones already have a pretty solid reputation. After the melodic hardcore masterpiece that was Facetious Folly Feat, I thought it would be difficult to make another record that was as fast and energetic as that one. Well, what does the band do instead? How about make one of the catchiest records of 2009 while still maintaining all of their intensity, because that's what their new record, The Unquotable A.M.H. is.
This is one of the cases where you shouldn't try to fix something that isn't broken, but it's never bad idea to make a few minor adjustments to make things fresh. That being said, Shook Ones style of melodic hardcore hasn't changed that much. Most of the album is them playing their usual mixture of pop punk and hardcore to near perfection but there is a lot more emphasis on melodies in the riffs rather than the repetitive chords that they usually use. Another noticeable thing is Scott Freeman using a lot more clean singing on this record than their previous. He's been criticized and praised for sounding like the identical twin of former Kid Dynamite vocalist Jason Shevchuk and his singing style is still heavily derivative of Shevchuk's but not as much as it was on the first two records.
There are also a few slower-tempo songs on The Unquotable A.M.H. as the band aims for an even more melodic sound with tracks like "Who Told Omar?," "Silverfish," and "Double-Knot That." A lot of these may aim towards the pop-punk side of things, but that isn't a bad thing in anyway. The band seems to be trying to break their mold a little bit and are creating a sound that was a bit more unique. The clearer vocals combined with the band's new since of melody help make this one of the most enjoyable records to come out of this year.
Almost about every song on this record has the potential to get stuck in your head for ages, the only exception being the opening instrumental which is kind of a throw-away song, honestly. It kicks the album off with a bang, but it doesn't exactly go anywhere. Then comes "For Collards," which is Shook Ones at their best and it adds a nice little twist with the headbanging outro. "Who Told Omar?" starts off with an addictive guitar hook (after the goofy sound clip, of course). "T. Monk" and "Tip The Weatherman" are two of the most melodic songs the band has ever done.
Shook Ones may still get criticism for being "the clones of Kid Dynamite" but I think this record might break them away from that label. The more "poppy" approach they took on The Unquotable A.M.H. will pay off in the long run if they continue to progress while still keeping that intensity and ferocity that they have maintained as a band. Those who were worried about Shook Ones losing any power or momentum will be gladly mistaken once they hear this record.
8.8 / 10
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