Genuine, well-crafted rock songs – a warm, welcoming success.
Mike Haydock 2009
Portland’s The Shaky Hands seem a band rather settled in their sound after three albums. Certainly Let It Die ploughs a similar furrow to the blues-influenced indie-rock of both their self-titled debut and it follow-up, Lunglight.
But that’s not necessarily a bad thing – Let It Die is primed to more than satisfy both their fans and also the newcomer, rooted as it is in classic influences such as Neil Young and The Kinks, and packed with easy charm.
Split between a rock-orientated ‘side A’ and a chilled-out, acoustic ‘side B’, The Shaky Hands mix up the moods nicely and prove themselves adept at each: title track and opener Let It Die will get you moving, while Gonna Hold You Tight is a measured, plaintive country ballad.
It’s a straightforward listen, built on traditional band dynamics – vocals, guitars, bass and drums – but the songwriting elevates it away from the mundane, swinging from subtle melodies to glorious pop choruses that you’ll be singing in the shower. Album highlights Never Fine and Love Curse are prime examples of the latter, boasting passion and tunes of which Wilco would be proud.
Frontman Nick Delffs went travelling around India for a month, fasting from Western music, before making this record, and while there’s little evidence of Asian sounds here (no, they haven’t done a Kula Shaker), there’s definitely a vigour in his delivery that carries Let It Die from start to finish.
It isn’t a faultless collection – there are moments when the subtlety becomes too subtle, especially in the second half, and The Shaky Hands lose your attention and drift by nonchalantly (Don’t Fail Me Now is the main offender, and even single Already Gone lacks a bit of spark). But as a simple collection of genuine, well-crafted rock songs, Let It Die is a warm, welcoming success.