The Shaker Hymn - Rascal's Antique (Heavy Noids Records) 
The Shaker Hymn - Rascal's Antique

It must be a pretty special moment when you get to release your first album after years of work and toil to hone your craft in to something you can be proud of. Cork quartet (Corket?) The Shaker Hymn have certainly done some honing and the resultant collection of songs, complete with gorgeous cover art, is sumptuous. 'We Are Awake' and 'You Taste Like Nothing (On The Vine)' open up the album with a sense of the Divine Comedy's suaveness mixed with a splash of country'n'western attitude and an indie work ethic. 'Hunter & The Headman' has a choppy guitar riff which combines beautifully with the crooning vocals that have a nice blend of Irish charm and American arrogance. 'Caroline' sweeps and swoons beautifully with some subdued slide guitar while 'The Runaway' has a folky gallop to it like the thundering hooves of a desperate horse carrying a panicked man away from a place that no longer extends  a welcome to him.

The lazy whistling that introduces 'Get Away' gives clear indication that this will be a shuffling, countrified tune before 'Hang You From Your Heart' bursts in with the attitude of Lynyrd Skynyrd and that Neil Hannon smoothness that we all fell in love with in the 90s. On 'Cold Unknown' the band build slowly from a gentle acoustic opening to a swooning piece of heartfelt indie balladry that will surely soundtrack a thousand break ups. As the album nears it's close we are treated to the story telling of 'Deadweight' which has a Grinderman meets the Zutons feel to it. The closing track, 'What The Enemy Calls The Heart', is a delightfully gorgeous, string infused tune perfect for slow dancing to at the end of the night but with just enough punch to get keep you interested below the waist, if you know what I mean. It's taken a fair few years for the Shaker Hymn to get to this point but I think they were years well spent on the evidence of this album so I encourage you to immerse yourself in their music - either in an arm chair with a glass of your favourite tipple on a solo road trip on some long, open roads.

More information:

Live Dates:

6th June - De Barras, Cork
12th June - The Medicine Sessions, Waterford
13th June - Briery Gap Theatre, Macroom
14th June - Dolan's Warehouse, Limerick
22nd June - Pine Lodge, Myrtleville

28th June - The Pavilion, Cork w/Foxjaw