BABY SHAKES: Turn It Up: LP

I have yet to hear a record by this male-drummered quartet that I have not adored, even though putting the drummer’s face on the enclosed poster really musses up my pursuit of the prurient interest, although in terms of resale value I suppose it’s probably for the best. A presumably very floral smelling mass of checkers, stripes, and bangs, the Baby Shakes do a continually admirable job of grinding up and processing their influences (Bobbyteens? Nikki & The Corvettes with better guitar leads? Glam on a few songs?), without actually directly sounding like their influences. Everything kinda goes in one end, gets pulped into some manner of Rock Slurry by the creative process, and comes out the other end as the Baby Shakes, which is great—punky-poppy rock’n’roll, equal parts glitz and blitz, gloss and boss, glands and band. As pleasant as I find the whole sweet morass, the one thing that they really haven’t done—to my myopic eardrums, anyway—is to repeatedly create product possessed by some divine spark of band-defining originality; something that the Baby Shakes and the Baby Shakes alone could produce. I like pretty much everything they’ve done, but (and admittedly I’m picking nits here) nothing they’ve ever done has been dreadfully unique; it’s a well-crafted synthesis of influences but not really a brand leader. Ah well, I’m sure their forthcoming double-album rock opera about a deaf, dumb, and incontinent kid who plays Candy Crush exceptionally well is already half in the can. That said, please enjoy the best bangs in rock’n’roll, won’t you? BEST SONG: “Turn It Up.” BEST SONG TITLE: “Baby Blue”… IF YOU’RE BADFINGER. FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: Includes a cover of “Last Night” by the Scientists. ­–Rev. Nørb (Lil’ Chewy)