Shawn James and the Shapeshifters

Shawn James and the Shapeshifters

Shawn James and the Shapeshifters

On The Shoulders of Giants

If this is the blues, I’m gonna run back to my room and hide underneath my old Led Zeppelin albums. Shawn James may start with the blues as his roots, but what you see on the outside is an ominous, glowering stack of hard rock that just one drunken weekend away from Swedish Death Metal. But his soul is not lost; in the post-apocalyptic music weighing studio the anger and pain of the blues dominates. “Lost” opens with a slow fiddle and banjo line, but eight bars in and we are are buried under a sonic attack that grinds a bass line out over the dead bodies of Indie Pop bands that only want to put an organic flower in your rifle barrel. This song even has a dog; sometimes James is one pickup truck away from a country ballad. “Wild Man” shifts gears several times, and features a strong vocal line with the lyric “She gives me all the loving she can.” That’s the blues – one minute shes all over you, and the next all you’re left with is a Visa bill and a rash.

All music evolves and evokes older bands and here I smell the ghosts of Roky Ericson, early Rolling Stones, and every long-haired guitar player that tore up your 1970’s speaker cones. James may start with roots rocks, but he piles it high with tinder and puts a leaf blower to the flames. Even the violin solo on “Just Because” scares me a bit. But if you look this album square in the eye, pound your chest and shake your armor, it can be your best friend.

http://www.shawnjamesmusic.com; http://shawnjamessoul.bandcamp.com

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Halloween Nuggets

    Halloween Nuggets (Liberation Hall). Review by Charles D.J. Deppner.

  • RoboCop Steelbook
    RoboCop Steelbook

    Computerized police work in 1987? What could possibly go wrong? Carl F. Gauze reviews.

  • Memoria
    Memoria

    Winner of the Jury Prize of the 2021 Cannes Film Festival, Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Memoria subtly draws viewers into a connective reality shaped by the sounds and images emerging from the unknown. Lily and Generoso share their thoughts on the film, currently touring North America.

  • Say Goodnight, Gracie
    Say Goodnight, Gracie

    Lose a job? Eh, there’s always another one. Review by Carl F. Gauze.

  • New Music Now 007: crêpe girl
    New Music Now 007: crêpe girl

    Episode 007 features new music by Jack White, Snail Mail, and crêpe girl, and 2 sweet Yoko Ono covers from Stephin Merritt and Deerhoof. Stick around for joy!

  • Hot Water Music
    Hot Water Music

    Feel The Void (Equal Vision Records). Review by Charles D.J. Deppner.

  • Watcher
    Watcher

    Chloe Okuna’s new thriller Watcher is an immersive journey into fear. Review by Phil Bailey.

  • From Here
    From Here

    A mass shooting changes the world, but not the people in it.

  • True West
    True West

    Two brothers attempt to get into movies without killing each other. It’s a close call.

  • In The Heights
    In The Heights

    A lottery ticket and a blackout shift a man’s life in the New York Hispanic community.

From the Archives