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Untitled by The Nervous Shakedown

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Reviewed on 5th February 2004.

 
 

Untitled

By The Nervous Shakedown

The White Stripes have a lot to answer for. Not only did they prompt the entire record industry to sign any band with a 'The' in the title, but they also made every label sign up the obligatory dirty blues riffage band. Sometimes they get it right (The Black Keys and The Kills for example) and sometimes they get it so very wrong (Jet, for example).

The Nervous Shakedown are neither of those examples, but some kind of hybrid between the two. They have the dirty guitar riffs, the plodding beats and the grizzled vocals, but it all somehow falls short.

First track "Song From Lila" is a chugging storm of overdriven guitars and shouty vocals. The main problem with it is that it sounds very, and I mean very, studio produced. So the guitars are the main feature, the drums can barely be heard, and when they are, they sound one dimensional and lifeless. Even the vocals sound very 'close', i.e. they've been recorded in one take, and nothing has been done to them (no reverb or anything!)

"Habit" is more like it. Slow and churning, it recalls all those old blues tracks you used to nod your head to when your dad had some dodgy compilation on his car stereo. It's probably the best track here, and at points sounds like a more 'produced' Black Keys song. Very gritty and lo-fi. We like.

Last track "Deadliest Man Alive" is more of the same dirty blues riffage. Damn, the drums just came in and ruined everything. I bet this band kick ass live, but this CD ain't doing them any favours. The lyrics are pretty suspect here too - "he said 'hey motherfucker you're in my bed' / two seconds later, motherfucker was dead". See what I mean? Will the real Jet please stand up?

The Nervous Shakedown obviously have a good idea. It's just a shame that this CD sounds as if it were mixed on a Friday afternoon at 6pm, when no one could be arsed to make it sound better than it should. My advice would be to go listen to "Thickfreakness" by The Black Keys, and then go and record again. This CD should sound excellent, as the tunes are pretty cool, but the über flat mix makes it sound pretty dull.

 

Comments

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On 7th February 2004 at 14:07 Anonymous 1243 wrote...

Gavin - a few valid points, but its a demo,recorded and mixed over a weekend. If the tunes are cool and would sound excellent with the right mix and production then give us the cash and time and will have it for you !! So I have decided award us with 4.5 stars !!Cheers for the review. Mark - the Nervous Shakedown.

 

On 9th February 2004 at 10:01 Anonymous 1787 wrote...

Gavin - I do think that criticising the production quality of a demo is a bit harsh, but you are right about one thing - the band are fantastic live and you should definitely go and see them if you get the chance.(i.e The Primrose 19 March).

 

On 9th February 2004 at 12:05 Dave LMS wrote...

I disagree. I think if a band opens themselves up for a review of a CD then they are suggesting to the listener/publication/fanzine/etc that the CD is good enough for someone to receive it, listen to and write about it. I think that whether it is a single or a demo. It is a personal opinion. When a band records a demo they must have thought of the target audience for it, even if it were purely for the band members themselves. But as soon as a band intends to distribute their demo out to interested parties and invite reviews of it they have to consider what a poor quality recording will have on the listener. And if you decide that the demo is not to be open to issues of production quality then you should not invite third party comments upon it. This is a general opinion I hold, it does not relate specifically to the band we are discussing here. And you should remember, a lot of what local bands refer to as "official" releases, EPs, etc are little different to what another band refers to as a demo, in all areas, production to packaging. Therefore as a fanzine as LMS is, you have to take the approach that all submitted material has been sent in because the band deem it of sufficient quality (songwriting and production) for someone external to the band to listen to it.

 

On 9th February 2004 at 21:00 Anonymous 1785 wrote...

I think you made some good points both David and Edward,though somehow sense 'Edward' may be part of the band?
Doesnt everyone get a little sick of clean,characterless,Americanised silky smooth overproduction every now and then ...or is it just me?
I think its quite refreshing to hear a band as they really are.
Dont people realize,we've been force fed on a diet of digital dance music now for ...oohhh far too long, and its starting to take its toll on my body, well my brain st least.
I like hearing human music...its more real.

 

On 9th February 2004 at 23:04 Anonymous 1243 wrote...

Edward is not in the band to my knowledge, maybe I've missed him, but at last count there was me and two others (J and Dan). Mark, The Nervous Shakedown.

 

On 10th February 2004 at 01:29 Anonymous 1785 wrote...

Edwards not part of the band?
Then why was he plugging your gig in March, I heard through the grapevine that 'fast eddy' (to his friends) was a fundemental member in the band,the brains behind the whole nervous shakedown project, is this not right nervous Mark?

 

On 10th February 2004 at 10:28 Anonymous 30 wrote...

Papa - you are right in what you say, there is too much Americanised silky smooth production but you have ignored the other side of the coin - a lot of the CD's we receive are badly mixed, unmastered, farting bass sounds, flat lifeless vocals, etc etc. Please don't confuse my comments with this review as I have reviewed the Nervous guys in the past and saw through the production values to some excellent attitude and music underneath. I think Gavin is being a tad harsh, but you have to realise some stuff we get it's just impossible to ignore the quality of production. When it is up against other stuff that is of really high quality and I should also say, not neccessarily Americanised or silky - it's hard to ignore.

 

On 10th February 2004 at 16:51 Anonymous 1797 wrote...

Dave, this band have worked incredibly hard in a relatively short space of time to get to where they are now. At this stage they are already drawing a hardcore following and I feel a fanzine such as LMS should be doing all it can to promote original home grown talent. Sure there is alot of rubbish about but this group ain't rubbish. The Grove on Sunday 15/2/04 should prove to be a lorra fun. Ps The Guitarist is simply amazing.

 

On 10th February 2004 at 16:54 Anonymous 1797 wrote...

Long Live the "shakedown" wooohooo

 

On 10th February 2004 at 17:48 Dave LMS wrote...

Mat, as I originally wrote my views were general about whether recording quality should be mentioned on a review and that I believe a band should consider this factor when deciding whether or not to send a demo out for review. Just because a band has recorded a demo doesn't mean they have to send it to fanzines for review, in fact I sometimes receive demos with an instruction not to review for the very reason being raised. As I said, this view is unrelated to the band or review to which the point was originally raised - I can't comment on TNS because I haven't seen or heard them. On the second point, I don't believe that LMS "should be doing all it can to promote original home grown talent" per se - I think that LMS should be including an element of quality control and I hope this is evident in its reviews. If a band deserves, in the listeners opinion, promoting or recommending then we will do our very best. But with this comes the pointing out of the weaker bands. "Sugarcoating" these bands does little for everyone or for the credibility of a fanzine to be impartial and fair and, for that very reason, lowers its position as a useful guide to what is good and what is not good in Leeds. "Doing all it can to promote original home grown talent" - without the ability to criticise where necessary - does not do good for home grown talent in the long run. I don't know whether you meant this, so sorry if I've picked up on something you did not say, although I hope I have managed to express my views clearly. Sorry to have used up some area for this on the TNS comments thread but perhaps there's a place, and perhaps this is it...

 

On 10th February 2004 at 20:29 Anonymous 1243 wrote...

Everyones right !! Now can we have a group hug. Come on you know you want to.
p.s. Papasmall, or should I say Bickerdike, still no idea who your fast eddy is ?

 

On 10th February 2004 at 22:19 Anonymous 1797 wrote...

received and understood dave over and out

 

On 11th February 2004 at 23:35 Anonymous 1800 wrote...

...yeah i know

 

On 13th February 2004 at 16:35 Anonymous 1797 wrote...

i want that one....i know

 

On 13th February 2004 at 16:37 Anonymous 1797 wrote...

kafuffle is what its all about

 

On 13th February 2004 at 16:37 Anonymous 1797 wrote...

fair do's ya

 

On 13th February 2004 at 16:39 Anonymous 1797 wrote...

Nevous Shakedown at The Grove 15/2/04 2pm wooooohooooo!!!!

 

On 18th February 2004 at 16:27 Anonymous 1170 wrote...

I hear on the vine of grapes that the demo has been remixed by ace engineer Paul Bickerdike and now sounds tip top. shove that up yer 2 stars... tatty bye

 

On 18th February 2004 at 17:04 Dave LMS wrote...

On the basis what you say is true Dan then to be fair but by saying that it had to be remixed and now sounds good actually proves the original point made in the review. i.e. that it wasn't well mixed in the first place. You've agreed with the reviewer, intentionally or otherwise, that the submitted version was not initially tip top. So rather than "shove that up per 2 stars", you've managed to confirm the validity of such an award. That said, the point is that it is good to hear that (if correct) the band have been able to have it looked at, which also shows someone is (behind all the post-review comment on here) reading what the reviewer had to say in the first place because I don't think anyone doubts the songs are good.

 

On 19th February 2004 at 13:48 Anonymous 1170 wrote...

Oh bugger !

 

On 6th March 2004 at 14:24 Anonymous 1797 wrote...

Dan I want to see your tattoos

 

On 11th March 2004 at 11:37 Anonymous 1797 wrote...

Papa Lazaru is the greatest

 
 
 

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"A whole grain slice of dirt rock!" LMS.

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