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Shake The Faith – Shake The Faith

Shake The Faith
Shake The Faith
by Santiago Puyol at 06 June 2019, 7:02 AM

This reissue is a compilation of the demos of the bands SHAKE THE FAITH and SHAKEY JANE, two groups formed around the trio formed by guitarist Todd Stevens, bassist Jon Weed and drummer Currie Powers. The demo of SHAKE THE FEEL was originally recorded in 1990, while the works of SHAKEY JANE were recorded between 1991 and 1992. Both bands occupy a particular place in the music scene, between the end of the Hair Metal heyday and the Grunge and Alternative Rock boom, with clear influences from both worlds and the Funk Rock scene that seemed to bridge them in bands such as RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS or FAITH NO MORE.

The SHAKE THE FAITH demo (tracks 1-6) has a sound that strongly resembles that of RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS on "Mother's Milk", being very funky, fun to listen to and catchy. It has a gritty and aggressive sound, with a Punk vibe. Opener “Let Her Go” and third track “Roses Are Red” put the Punk and Hard Rock influences on the forefront, with gang vocals and tons of energy. The repeated “fuck you” on the chorus of “Roses Are Red” is so fun to sing along and gets stuck on your mind very easily.

"Paisley Girl" has a little Grunge influence, particularly in the noisy sound of the guitar. The rather noisy quality of the demo gives it a special vibe, more enticing. From minute 2:20 onwards, it has an instrumental break very similar to the sound of RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS, anchored in funky bass and followed by an intense guitar solo reminiscent of John Frusciante. “Mr. Psycho” is the rawest demo of the bunch, getting a little offbeat at times, although the chaotic approach to the music kind of fits with the lyrical theme.

Meanwhile, "Sally's Ballad" lives up to its name by being the ballad of the demo. Todd Stevens' guitar takes on a tone close to Desert Rock here, with a bluesy vibe. Lasting more than six minutes, it feels a bit too long, and needs a guitar solo to justify itself. It evokes GUNS 'N' ROSES at their most melodic, as well as the softer side of the RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS in "Blood Sugar Sex Magik". The demo closes with "All Night Master", funky, aggressive and heavy. It would not sound out of place on one of EXTREME's most Glam albums, albeit being much rougher.

SHAKEY JANE's demo (tracks 7-12) has more of a nineties sound, with rich vocal harmonies, neopsychedelia vibes and Alternative Rock influences. This is more than evident in the Collage Rock and Jangle Pop vibes of the second song, "Moonpie", which shows clear influences from bands like R.E.M., using clean guitars to add both texture and melody. The vocal harmonies in the chorus fill the air completely, wrapping everything in a warm sound.

Opener "What Does It Mean?" and "Story of Life" opt for a more Garage Rock path, the former with a deep bass line and aggressive distortion, while the latter through the contrast of grungy acoustic guitars and punky electric ones. On the other hand, "My Philosophy" alternates between funky verses, full of flanger-drenched bass, and an intro and outro clearly inspired by LED ZEPPELIN.

"Dear Dad" is the ballad here, being also the longest song, but shows a refinement in songwriting compared to "Sally's Ballad" from the previous demo. It has a very soulful sound, with almost psychedelic guitar textures and a very melodic bass line. The guitar solo is raw and bluesy, accompanied by chromatic run-downs of the bass that add an unsettling vibe underneath. The melody sounds vaguely similar to the organ in “The Phantom of the Opera” funnily enough. Closer “Shot to Hell” feels more Funk Rock and Hard Rock inspired than the rest of the demo, and has a driving, cowbell-led, instrumental breakdown.

This compilation reissue shines a light on a couple of bands that didn't make a major impact on the music scene, but without a doubt had undeniable talent and could have gone further if they had begun a little earlier. SHAKE THE FAITH and especially SHAKEY JANE show in their demos an ability to serve as a bridge between various musical worlds that were in dispute in the early nineties. With creative songwriting and a diverse sound, these demos are a fun time capsule, allowing you to explore a time of musical explosion from less obvious and less known places.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Memorability: 8
Production: 6

3 Star Rating

1. Let Her Go
2. Paisley Girl
3. Roses Are Red
4. Mr. Psycho
5. Sally's Ballad
6. All Night
7. What Does It Mean
8. Moonpie
9. Story of My Life
10. My Philosophy
11. Dear Dad
12. Shot To Hell
Currie Powers — Drums, Vocals
Todd Stevens — Guitar, Vocals
Jon Weed — Bass, Vocals
Andy Hogg — Lead Vocals
Dave Peers — Acoustic & Electric Guitars, Vocals
Clayton Dutton — Lead Vocals
Record Label: Heaven and Hell Records


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