Shook Ones' debut album, Sixteen, could easily be the lost Kid Dynamite album you never knew existed. If someone put this on and you didn't know any better, you would think it was a bunch of Kid Dynamite songs you've never heard. This isn't one of those so-called "influenced by Strike Anyhere / Avail / Kid Dynamite" pretender-to-the-hardcore throne bands. This is as close to the real deal as you're going to get outside a full-blown Kid Dynamite reunion.
Hailing from Bellingham, WA, they manage to ape KD's sound down right down to Jason Shevchuk's, before now, fairly unique delivery. While bands like the Curse (PA) and Trial By Fire (Wash., D.C.) were playing the same brand of melodic hardcore, and Shook Ones' labelmates the Disaster are firmly entrenched in the KD sphere of influence, Shook Ones are the first band to pick up the KD mantle and really run with it (including KD's own members' new projects). Jason's band None More Black strays beyond even the most poppy elements of KD's sound, while Yemin made the questionable call of taking over vocal duties (since his singers kept flaking on him) for his harder-edged new band Paint It Black.
Now, I really like None More Black and I would probably like Paint it Black a lot more if they got a real singer, but neither splinter groups add up to the sum of their parts together as Kid Dynamite. When I said Shook Ones ape KD's sound, I didn't mean that as a knock on them. They aren't a watered-down clone band. They strike me as having great potential (they made a nice jump in quality from their demo to the album, for instance) and this album is thoroughly enjoyable. In fact, the only knock I could see someone having on it is that it sounds too much like Kid Dynamite, which I think is just hating on it in principle and not on its own merits.
It is rare for a band to resemble some other, better band so closely and be interesting to me (I'm looking at you, Pennywise), but for whatever reason, Shook Ones make it work on this record. They mix up the catchy, poppy stuff with the anthemic hardcore in a mixture last done really well by, you guessed it, Kid Dynamite. I think Kid Dynamite did it better, for sure, and had some more interesting dynamics going on with their songs, but Shook Ones give me reason to believe they can get there too.
I don't know why their record label name-checks Jawbreaker; I don't hear that influence at all (except maybe via someone like Hot Water Music). This is pretty much straight up Kid Dynamite with maybe just a slight hint of Smoke or Fire vibe.
If you are a fan of any of these bands, I can't see any reason why this record won't totally kick your ass and be on your top 10 list for the year (unless you're just plain hatin' on them): Kid Dynamite, None More Black, Paint It Black, Lifetime, Trial by Fire, the Curse, the Disaster, Strike Anywhere, Rise Against, Jericho/Smoke or Fire, Panthro UK United 13, and/or Inquisition.