Shake Some Action!
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Shake Some Action!

Seattle, Washington, United States | INDIE

Seattle, Washington, United States | INDIE
Band Rock Pop


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"CD review - January 2007"

The year has just begun, and already the first knockout by an unknown band from out of left field has arrived.

Taking their name from the wonderful Flamin' Groovies song of the same name, Seattle's Shake Some Action! has created something wonderful all its own.

The quintet has pulled its influences from all over the map. One can detect echoes of 1980s Australian band the Hoodoo Gurus, Oasis at its least pompous and most invigorating, the jangling rush of Teenage Fanclub, and yes, the Flamin' Groovies during that band's mid-1970s British Invasion fixation.

It sounds derivative on paper, but it all flows fluently through the band's capable hands into an effortless, cohesive whole right from the start. The opening "Sound of Your Mind" showcases everything SSA does well -- a killer tune, dynamic guitars, James Hall's powerful Robyn Hitchcock-on-steroids vocals, a brief, blazing solo -- and brings it all together in just over two minutes.

The La's would have loved to have had "Without You" as the follow up to "There She Goes"; it has a similar soaring quality. Lyrics lamenting lost innocence and the pitfalls of growing older are nothing new, but "Complicated" shows that they can still have poignancy when served up with ringing guitars and a melody you'll have trouble getting out of your head.

Add stinging rockers such as "Damaged" and "What You Want Me to Do," and the result is an album alive with the simple joys of guitar-based, hook-filled rock 'n' roll at its least affected -- and most affecting.

--SAM GNERRE, - Daily Breeze

"Sunny Days Ahead review - June 2008"

"One can argue that the second album defines a band. While a debut is usually something worked on for years - a work of vision and passion - the follow up can be a quickly recorded and hurried affair. This Seattle band does what other great bands have done, getting better on the follow-up. Built upon the base of it's pop-filled debut, this record has even more catchy hooks and phenomenal guitar work. Know this band. Listen to this band. Consider where album number three will find them." - John Richards - Seattle Sound

"Sunny Days Ahead review - June 2008"

After dropping a demanding-to-be-heard debut, kicking up a racket at Bumbershoot 2007, and getting some major indie radio play, this is the second studio full-length from Shake Some Action! And the band requires that exclamation mark, I assure you.

The title of the album, though, could end with a question mark. Though I honestly believe that band leader James Hall is "kicking at the darkness to get to the light" (thanks, Bruce Cockburn), there is a dichotomy here between how things should be in life, in a relationship, and the beautiful messes and ugly truths they actually are.

My wife and I were riding on a bus to a cafe on a day off, and we'd just had an argument about something stupid (a life detail, not the Frank and Nancy collaboration), and I gave in to duty and put on my headphones to soak in some power-pop joy. When we got to where we were going I bought her a rather expensive little espresso bar dessert ($6.50) because I tried to make amends with something I knew she loved. I knew it would give some sweetness to the situation, but had no idea how moist, rich, and sumptuous that piece of cheesecake would be. I wanted to order three more instantly. That's what listening to this record a couple times through is like -- my mood had brightened on the first play, with all the wonderful playing from James Hall (lead vocals, guitar), Chris Campbell (drums, vocals), David Bos (guitar, vocals), and Gary Miller (bass, vocals, and guitar). But by the fourth I was into it deep and sweet.

The thirteen tracks on this lucky number poke through, each one a rousing glow or a bit of heat stroke, all very natural and part of the daily environment of sudden joy and imminent vexation. This is a sugary jouissance, pure power-pop enjoyment, but with a strangely adult bite. The album title Sunny Days Ahead is an offhand remark Cheryl Waters made after the band's radio station in-studio, but I can't believe the KEXP DJ was merely referring to the weather outside. The album is not about ignorant bliss, but the artful skills of a poet, player, and performer willing to warn ("you're a big fake / look out for stormy weather," the tense and grinding album opener exhorts) as well as warm you up.

"I got my skin baked / the sun shining down on me / sew seeds of hate and one day you'll pay the penalty," the story continues, and you know this isn't any sort of happy face nostalgia trip. After "Get It Together" introduces the record with a firmly focused pile-driver of suitable tension, second track "Looking For Someone" has that best-of-post-punk-pop-and roll-droll-Brit-garage-rhythm-meets-sweeping-chorus so beloved by fans of more melodic XTC-Jam-Echo & the Bunnymen treasures. The guitars match the story of swarming life changes perfectly. Throughout, they combine their skills with Hall to layer delicious little riffs in everywhere, but it's not the kind of hard rock posing certain other "garage rock" Seattle bands do; these are organic echoes of Dave Davies and Mick Jones. Guys who could rock hard but never look like they're posing, just putting more pleasure into each song.

"Hurry Up" is in the 'B' section of British (or Brit-inspired) beat bands, from the Beatles to Badfinger and onward, but just beneath is a mad cackle from Robyn Hitchcock, in the mad grasp for momentary happiness. "Walking Away" is about the senses working overtime, with lines like "The room is so dark here, then I see you walking away," which would have fit perfectly on Matthew Sweet's Girlfriend album. It's a bitter fear of relational entropy mixed with sonic butterscotch hooks, crunchy peanut butter riffs, and smooth white chocolate vocals. It piles on the abundant and imminent loss as crippling as a ice cream sundae brain freeze.

Hall is one of those idiosyncratic pop rock voices; the paradox of a stylist who can create a private Wall of Sound, songs that sound huge for small stereos and will bless the faithful but tend to be too pure for the mainstream (he should at the very least have the success of Brendan Benson). But it's by using the authentic kick ass juice of a tight, can-do rock band that these sharp slices of stinging life don't lay on the plate as bedsit studio genre fiddling. Sunny Days Ahead seems so wholesome on the surface, until you run into the fear of abandonment and failure in a lyric like "you're so free / you don't need to talk to me." That sort of vibe might cut out the casual listener. Then again, when "Your Valentine" is played so perfectly, with its high chiming notes of guitar and melancholy in its smooth melody, you realize that Shake Some Action! are delivering what people have always wanted from artists like Tom Petty on the big scale and Shane Tutmarc on the smaller. "You Don't Care" is relentless in its examination of a self-destructive need for control, greedy desires met on every level, great tumbles of Bowie-style imagery about a hung-up, hungover existence. "All you need is what you love" meant here as a criticism, is the most wicked burn I've heard in a rock song since the glory days of the The's Matt Johnson.

The crunching blues-pop on the finale "Who Do You Love?" features guest licks from Young Sportsman's Ryan Maxwell, and gives the set a Baker's Dozen feel of thematic luxury most albums can't afford to create. I do wish there were one stupid feel-good track here somewhere (maybe a cover of "Something Stupid" itself?), even done ironically, just to lighten the load. And the only thing I fear about this record is that taken altogether it might be too much of a good thing; maybe this should have been three separately released EPs or a series of colored seven inch vinyl records. But then they all would have had to be rounded up again someway, right? And why not do it clean the first time? - Chris Estey, Three Imaginary Girls


Shake Some Action! LP release 01/16/07
Live at the Crocodile LP release 06/26/07
Sunny Days Ahead LP release 06/17/08



Shake Some Action! is a band from Seattle, WA, steeped in the influences of classic pop from the '60s through the '90s. The band was formed in late 2006 by Australian-born singer, guitarist, and songwriter James Hall, who had previously earned a loyal cult following in the Pacific Northwest for his work with his previous band the Jeunes.

While the Jeunes earned enthusiastic press in the US and UK for a single self released EP, the band split up in late 2005 with most of their repertoire unrecorded.

Hall then retreated to his home studio and recorded the first Shake Some Action! album almost entirely solo, save for some lead guitar work by ex-Jeunes member David Bos. Hall and Bos became Shake Some Action's guitarists, while the rhythm section of bassist Gary Miller and drummer Chris Campbell was recruited from fellow Seattle popmeisters the Scheme.

Indie label Satellite 451 Records released the album in January 2007 to a surprising amount of acclaim – immediately landing in heavy rotation on influential Seattle radio station KEXP as well as receiving rave reviews and strong sales worldwide.

"The year has just begun, and already the first knockout by an unknown band from out of left field has arrived." - Sam Gnerre, the Daily Breeze

"a remarkably well-crafted set of jangly power pop packed with rich harmonies and indelible hooks reminiscent of Hoodoo Gurus, the La’s and other pop greats. " - KEXP 90.3 FM

"Sweet multi-layered vocals, chiming Rickenbacker guitars and hooks a plenty. . . . A very impressive debut" - the Rock and Roll Report

"full of hooks and dripping with vocal and instrumental harmonies that would make The La's blush" - Three Imaginary Girls

Their live performances also generated buzz in Seattle, with KEXP Music Director Don Yates commenting: "They rocked up their sound a bit more than their excellent new debut album, and their harmonies sounded great live... it shouldn’t be long before these guys start getting a lot of well-deserved attention", while All Music Guide's Stephen Thomas Erlewine wrote of their performance at 2007's Bumbershoot festival: "Armed with two Rickenbacker guitars and endless harmonies, the group is a bunch of unabashed pop classicists, bringing to mind not just '70s power-pop but the heyday of jangle-pop in the '80s, from the REM ringing of the guitars to the Robyn Hitchcock edge delivery from singer/songwriter James Hall. "

Amidst these plaudits in September 2007 came "Live at the Crocodile", a complete recording of their third show at Seattle's legendary Crocodile Cafe which showcased the band's stellar live sound and gave further weight to those glowing live reviews.

Their second studio album "Sunny Days Ahead" was released in June 2008 to universally positive reviews:

"This Seattle band does what other great bands have done, getting better on the follow-up. . . .this record has even more catchy hooks and phenomenal guitar work. Know this band. Listen to this band. Consider where album number three will find them." - John Richards, Seattle Sound / KEXP

"This is a top-notch power pop album that features a number of jangly tracks – like “Hurry Up” (a strong candidate for this month’s Song of the Month honors), “I Don’t Want To Talk About It,” “Unusual Girl” and “Set Me Free. I have said this before: lead vocalist James Hall’s voice reminds me a great deal of Dave Faulkner – the frontman for the Hoodoo Gurus.” - Eric Sorensen, Not Lame Blog

"Shake Some Action! are delivering what people have always wanted from artists like Tom Petty.... a sugary jouissance, pure power-pop enjoyment, but with a strangely adult bite." - Chris Estey, Three Imaginary Girls

"an album of infectious, melodic power pop imbued with the snarl and indignation of punk. . . . there’s an air of spontaneity and looseness here but the songs are all expertly constructed and practically overflowing with ideas. . . . Sunny Days Ahead is a strong contender for SPB album of the year." - Andy Miracle, Seattle Powerpop Blog

Shake Some Action's music has been licensed to Nike, Showtime and Screen Gems and appeared in various advertising campaigns, TV shows and feature films.