Shot Baker - Awake [reissue] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Shot Baker

Awake [reissue] (2007)

Underground Communiqé

Hot damn, this is shaping up to be a great summer with a slew of great releases. Though it came out in March, Chicago's Shot Baker recently re-released their debut album Awake well in time for some serious bike ride action.

Of course, the announcement of a reissue is often accompanied by a sigh and a complaint. But don't sweat it: Shot Baker one-upped most of the re-issuers by entering the studio to re-record the album (except for the drums) and remastered it to boot, leaving the latest product much more refined than its predecessor, yet still in retention of its finest qualities.

Shot Baker are one of the latest in a long line of fine Chicago punk bands bringing forth honest punk rock largely free of any overt outside influence. Sure, Shot Baker sounds like they could pass off with Gainesville passports, but just when you start to think they sound a lot like, oh, say Osker, Avail or Hot Water Music, they blast through your stereo with a shot of Shot Baker straight up. Awake is largely rough-sounding punk rock heavy on the rock'n'roll, but Shot Baker throws in plenty of harmonic moments, especially in the backing vocals and catchy-as-hell choruses.

Chances are, not a whole lot of people outside of Chicago managed to get their paws on one of the original copies of the record, which is now out of print. By re-recording and remastering it they've made the old product that much better and while it's not going to blow anyone away for its originality or musicianship, it's still a damn fine album that promises to provide plenty of rock-outs and "Hey, that was pretty cool" observations.