Release Date: Sep 11, 2015
Record label: Hardly Art
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Garage Punk
Shannon & the Clams really put it all together on their 2013 album Dreams in the Rat House. Tighter and tougher than before with hookier songs and both bassist Shannon Shaw and guitarist Cody Blanchard nailing their vocals, the album was a near-brilliant '50s/'60s throwback. Just to show that it wasn't a fluke, their 2015 album Gone by the Dawn is even better.
Like Hardly Art labelmates Colleen Green, La Luz, Chastity Belt, La Sera and S, Shannon and the Clams is a project that has become more notable for the strength of the songwriting voices than the particular sound. So while Gone by the Dawn is at a basic level vintage garage rock, with sweet wisps of doo-wop, Motown and surf, what’s most indelible is the honest, relatable humanity in the songwriting of Shannon Shaw (bass), Cody Blanchard (guitar) and Nate Mayhem (drums and keys). Their tools—irresistible melodies, danceably enticing rhythms and a timeless sense of cool—are merely in service to those voices.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. The first three records from Shannon and the Clams were unadulterated nostalgia trips. A new listener could easily be fooled into believing that they were listening to a record from a long-lost '60s seaside rock group. But after having honed that style to a seemingly insurmountable peak on 2013's Dreams In The Rat House, it would seem that the Oakland-based trio have tried to make their voice even more their own with their latest LP, Gone By The Dawn.
When Beach Blanket Bingo gets its 21st century remake, here's the soundtrack. Shannon Shaw and Cody Blanchard trick out warped Fifties-Sixties rock driven by space-age thrift-shop keyboards, shimmy-shake dance grooves and sexy moonlit vocals — Shaw's woozy Amy Winehouse-isms are backlit by Blanchard's shrieky falsetto. If the campy atmosphere nods to the B-52s, the drama is all Morrissey.
This fourth album by Shannon and the Clams is either too late for summer or just in time for fall; it all depends on which is your season of choice for having Big Feelings about heartbreak and desire. Shannon Shaw's heart-in-throat vocals and the Clams' joyous abandon take hold right away and rip breezily but dramatically through 13 lovely new songs, inducing the kind of open-hearted reflection that makes the past so vivid and the present so vital. What's the point of being so beholden to tradition? is a fair and worthwhile question to ask about music-making in 2015.
Turning the traditional into something entirely their own, Shannon and The Clams are at the top of a game of their own making. The template is set in Gone By The Dawn's first three tracks. "I Will Miss The Jasmine" is a lingering number echoing over addictive surf refrains, whilst "My Man" is the perfect ballad to moodily chain smoking your woes away to, and "Point Of Being Right" is a storming, pounding doo-wop track complete with raw, resounding vocals.