...pardon my ever-lovin’ rectilinearity, but what-all does this activity called “shaking” entail? I mean, it certainly seems to be popular with our nation’s young people, but how do ya DO it? Am i to just sort of quiver precariously? To grab an external element such as a maraca or infant and shake them instead? Does this shaking involve my booty? Am i to just deliver an endless procession of secret handshakes? Is it more of a tremble or is it a full-fledged spasm? Because, i mean, this band really seems to endorse shaking, so i reckon i better get hip quickly, lest i be deleted from the roster of the Shaking Guild in short order. Actually, this band is really into all manner of unquantifiable activities—apart from Shaking, they are also into Rocking, Rocking And Rolling (which is different than just plain Rocking, as i understand things), Shaking with a Girl Who Knows How to Shake (well, fair enough. I mean, virginity is way overrated if you ask me), and Getting the Party Started, which seems so qualitatively verifiable and concrete as to appear almost square by comparison—and i kind of know how to Rock, and how to Rock And Roll, i think, but Shaking i’m completely clueless on. What i actually do know is that this record is not quite as good as their debut (which i felt was unnecessarily dismissed by many of my peers—it’s like, come on, what do you guys want with your shaking and rocking, a cure for cancer?), which means that, instead of being on the Better Rocking Thru Progress train like the Leg Hounds, or the Better Rocking Thru Breaking Up After One Record express like the Teenage Knockouts, these guys are actually hooked up with the Decreased Rocking Thru Radioactive Decay format, where the first album sets the standard of Rockingism (or, in this case, Shakeitude), and every subsequent album sounds just like the first one, except one half-life less rocking and shaking... i.e., Rockin’ Sound only rocks and shakes, say, fifty percent worth of Shakin’ at the Party, but the next one—presumably to be titled Both Rocking and Shaking with The Radio Reelers unless they start singing about Reeling as well as Rocking and Shaking—will only rock, shake and reel like fifty percent worth of Rockin’ Sound, which would only be twenty-five percent of Shakin’ at the Party. Once you get down below about twelve and a half percent, it’s time to call it a day. Anyway! The percentages quoted above were merely used for illustrative purposes; Rockin’ Sound actually rocks and shakes to the tune of about eighty or eighty-five percent of Shakin’ at the Party (which, for the record, i thought kinda rocked. Shook. Whatever), but, for a shit-simple high-energy punk-n-roll band like the Radio Reelers, that missing fifteen or twenty percent makes all the difference in the world (or all the difference between “yes, you should buy this record” and “eh,” whichever comes first). The problem is that if you’re gonna write songs like “S-H-A-K-E I-T,” they better goddamn well be PERFECT, or close enough to perfect for Rocking And Rolling—and “S-H-A-K-E I-T” somehow manages to blow its own hook (hmmm... i think i saw a movie about guys like that once) by delivering the line as “S-H-A (pause), K-E-I-T!”, which, to me, spells out “Sha Keit,” not “Shake It,” which sounds like the name of some guy on the FBI’s ten most wanted list, not as a heady command to tremble, quiver and spell. Actually, if i think about this record any more, i’m gonna spend about four hours musing over whether or not it’s a good idea for songs to have singalong parts that involve spelling out words with silent E’s, thus i will leave the determination of this album’s ultimate shakeworthiness as an exercise for the reader. BEST SONG: “Can’t Be My Baby” BEST SONG TITLE: “S-H-A-K-E I-T,” i guess, but shouldn’t there be a hyphen between the E and I? FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: The Radio Reelers currently have the coolest lightning bolts in rock & roll.
–norb (Zaxxon Virile Action)