Cork has never exactly been short of great musical output. Right now it feels like it’s in the middle of a particularly fertile patch with the amount of highly promising acts germinating there. Rather than be part of scene or trend, The Shaker Hymn are forging their own path irrespective of what is going on in the wider environment. This applies to even releasing their debut album, ‘Rascal’s Antique’, through their own label Heavy Noids Records.
Recently released single The Runaway provided a teaser of what to expect. It’s a measured indie rock song with the focus on producing hook filled choruses with soaring finales. A template which they repeat on opener track We Are Awake where the jangly guitars eventually give way to a rapidly soaring climatic conclusion. Full of vocal harmonies, it will nestle a place in your mind for days on end. These harmonies and vocal melodies are sprinkled throughout the album with other highlights including Cold Unknown and Deadweight . The latter two songs emphasis how important the track listing is as the album moves between tempo changes from song to song and this plays a large part in making sure the listener isn’t getting bored.
At its best, this album has a quality that reminds us of much missed 90’s Irish band Revelino, though The Shaker Hymn veer closer to The Byrds than Revelino’s main influence of The Beatles. Singer Caoilian Sherlock also sounds like former Revelino frontman Brendan Tallon and Sherlock exudes a confidence, equally at home on the rockier numbers as he is expressing forlornness on the slower songs.
Not everything hits the target. The maudlin Caroline is so soppy that even Embrace would feel embarrassed playing it. What The Enemy Calls The Heart has a hint of Oasis’s Champagne Supernova, complete with strings but its chorus doesn’t carry the same memorable quality as the build up during the verses. ‘Rascal’s Antique’ gets it right most of the time and while it doesn’t break any new ground, it’s an album deserving a listen.