The Shams play straight-up rock’n’roll that isn’t quite punk, not quite bar rock, but too edgy-sounding to be pop. The tunes sound like the smell of lilacs in a horse paddock—there’s something seamy and fundamental under your feet, but up top things are fresh and light. Thus works the earthy, rumbling bass with The Shams’ clean, bright guitars. And tambourines and fiddles! Love me some fiddles! Through it all, The Shams just sound so damn Irish (partly because they quite clearly are), but it’s not simply the sum total of Emerald Isle accents on the record and those lovely fiddles. It’s like this record wants to be classified as “Celtic pub rock” or crammed into some other overused pigeon hole, but it simultaneously defies such easy classification. It’s like a drunken night of multi-Guinness at the pub with a rollicking fistfight—it could have been anywhere, but it just happened to be at the Irish joint, so that becomes the overarching context for the memory, even though it would make for a great story regardless of the setting.
–Eric Carlson (Shams Music Productions)