Shannon and the Clams, Sleep Talk

Jason Pettigrew

By Jason Pettigrew

on 04.04.11 in Reviews
Homey and comfortable late-’50s/early-’60s nostalgia

We live in a world where entitled young "punk bands" bite the moves of groups who have been around for less than five years. Now that we're crystal clear about why everything sounds the same these days, check out Sleep Talk, the third album from "young oldie" outfit Shannon And The Clams. Totally worthy of "best new band of 1961" kudos, the Clams — fronted by bassist Shannon Shaw, also of Hunx And His Punx — traffic in late-'50s/early-'60s nostalgia that's as homey and comfortable as family photos standing on an old console television set (remember those?), or the sweat and tobacco-stained paneling at your favorite dive bar. Instead of sounding kitschy, Shaw can be sexy ("Tired Of Being Bad" is the kind of thing period pulp novels were based upon), reverent ("You Will Always Bring Me Flowers") and confident (the title track). When they do ramp up the period cornball gestures ("The Cult Song" is a great-great-great granddaughter to the Cadets' "Stranded In The Jungle"), it's done with a lo-fi swagger that's positively awesome in today's post-Gories underground. And the proceedings aren't entirely slow-dance fodder, either: Jagged-sounding tracks like "Toxic Revenge" and "King Of The Sea" are either wild wave-riding anthems or what you've got playing while you're trying to dispose a body into a wharf. The heart of Sleep Talk has seemingly traveled the space/time continuum to the trio's Oakland practice space — and it doesn't matter if you're playing it on a grossly expensive 5.1 system or a boom box in Phil Spector's cell.