It’s a good time for rockin’ blues, with the likes of Joe Bonamassa and The Temperance Movement helping to give the genre a welcome shot in the arm. With this self-titled album, Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown magnificently prove that they, too, are part of this vanguard.
It’s taken the Shakedown nearly half a decade to follow up their only previous full album. That’s the length of time it usually takes the likes of Def Leppard to get their arses in gear for another visit to the studio, not up-and-coming outfits chomping at the bit as they look to seal their reputation.
But there’s something refreshing about that – there have been too many “next big thing” acts that set out at 100 miles an hour, only to find they can’t keep the pace up and then failing to meet expectations.
The influences on Bryant and friends are apparent throughout this album. There are shades of Zeppelin and Aerosmith all the way through (no surprise with the latter, given that Graham Whitford – son of Brad – is Bryant’s guitar partner-in-crime) but there’s also Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, country, southern blues and lots more thrown in, too. At no point, though, does this sound anything other than fresh and original.
The album starts with a brilliant one-two punch. ‘Heartland’ gets us out of the blocks with a crunching guitar riff and layered vocals on top of a driving drum beat that’s reminiscent of the outro to ‘Sweet Emotion’. ‘Don’t Mind the Blood’, meanwhile, keeps the pace up before we get the first slow number with ‘Jealous Me’.
‘Ramblin’ Bones’ is in Tom Keifer-esque country-music territory. And although the catchy chorus of ‘Weak and Weepin’ is let down by the rest of the song, things quickly return to form: the atmospheric ‘Manipulate Me’ (which wouldn’t sound out of place on a Killers album) and the foot-stomp-inducing swagger of ‘Easy Target’ are two of this record’s highlights.
Closer “Into the Black” is a bit take-it-or-leave-it, and it means things peter out somewhat at the end. But the beauty of this album is that although every song is different, the whole thing hangs together as a homogenous whole, and there’s a maturity that belies the youth of 26-year-old Bryant and his band. It would be good to know that it won’t be another five years for the Shakedown to produce their next effort – but if that’s the price to pay for quality such as this, so be it.