Shannon & The Clams - Gone By the Dawn - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Shannon & The Clams - Gone By the Dawn

by Rob Taylor Rating:7 Release Date:2015-09-11

Recalibrate the TARDIS. Is it the 1950s, the 1960s, 70s, 80s? Is it doO-wop, surf punk, rock ‘n’ roll, or cabaret jazz? Is that White Album-era Paul McCartney singing? Is Roky Erickson singing Little Richard?

What would Otis Redding sound like if he found himself in a squirrel grip, and force-fed a diet of psychedelia? What if the singers from the B-52s were less 80s and more 50s? What if The Hollies wore pastels and grew their hair long? Was Screamin' Jay Hawkins a punk? 

These are the kind of questions you may care or care not to answer as you posit exactly what’s going on here. 

Oakland, California’s Shannon and the Clams might easily have been David Lynch’s choice of retro-freak house band on Twin Peaks, particularly with the added sci-fi effects and haunted sounds. Then again, you might also imagine the Fonz cooly fisting the jukebox before smooching his way into a girl’s arms at the milk bar. Either way, Shannon and The Clams provide a soundtrack one part garish and two parts fun. With a beach garage/rock revival aesthetic, a waggish and seemingly unpretentious outlook, and a shifting menu of styles, Shannon and The Clams is unlike anything else on the scene at present. Fortunately, it’s also good, if not a little perplexing.

For instance, ‘On My Man’ starts out sounding like a 50s rock ‘n’ roll number, but the skewered punk guitar at the close, and the punctuated squalling of the male vocals, introduce a psychobilly component. The next track, ‘Point of Being Right’ with Shannon Shaw on vocals is like a stilted ‘You Can’t Hurry Love’ by The Supremes, but with a playful bit of choral yelping to close the track out. ‘Knock ‘Em Dead’ is more garage-punk. 

If the sum total fails to be cohesive, this is the fault of the album format. As a live act though, they would positively sizzle, because, like a cabaret act,  their music is designed to beguile. 


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