Tyler Bryant and The Shakedown are a rock and roll band out of Nashville headed by a guitarist from Honey Grove, Texas. The band’s website says Bryant “cut his teeth on greats such as Lightnin’ Hopkins and Freddie King.” This EP, however, brings nothing of the sort to mind. The album previous to this, Wild Child, is a cleaner blues-rock sound evocative of “Dan Baird meets Lenny Kravitz”. This, though… Very early Soundgarden? Sabbath? Urge Overkill?
Dark, layered guitars with almost-heavy-metal chord progressions seasoned with a lot of fuzz forge a feeling of mondo. Yes, I realize I used that word incorrectly, but listen and try to come up with a better word yourself.
“Criminal Imagination” rolls in with a steamroller bass riff. Guitars join in an follow the bass, adding to the feeling of hugeness. While the guitar solo is technically blues based, it sound more like it belongs on a Cream track. The fuzziness continues with “Loaded Dice & Buried Money” (see video below) and apart from the early-’80s metal vocal harmonies which somehow aren’t out of place, there’s still the feeling of early ’70s metal.
“Devils Keep” breaks from the heaviness, with an acoustic sounding chord progression that allows the vocals and drums out front a bit more than the first two tracks, then it’s back to “heavy and driving” with “Mojo Working”, which is probably the hardest rocking version of a Muddy Waters tune I’ve ever heard. It’s got a nice payoff at just under two minutes in, bringing a fantastic solo that brings to mind… wait… what? Brian May? My only possible beef with this one is I wish the solo were a bit more forward in the mix.
Once again in the “heavy and driving” department, “Stitch It Up” is a respectable rocker with solid lead guitar. I imagine the bands hardcore following singing along to the choruses at live shows. It also kind of sounds like something Def Leppard wish they wrote.
I bought the EP after hearing just a few preview seconds of each of the first three tracks, but my favorite song in the bunch is “The Wayside”. No fuzz, just a fantastic slow blues tune where the clean guitars let the snare and vocals shine through. Nothing agains the other songs, but I’d love to hear an album full of songs with this sound.
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