The Shaking Hands - The Shaking Hands (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Shaking Hands

The Shaking Hands (2008)

Kiss of Death

There's not much new one can say about a band like the Shaking Hands. They play a brand of uptempo punk rock that's somewhere between street punk and melodic hardcore, like if Revolutions Per Minute and Let's Go! somehow mated and crapped out a child. Their self-titled debut is a nice little piece of music, but there's nothing here you haven't heard before. Maybe that's the point, though.

One thing The Shaking Hands is full of, thankfully, is huge, anthemic choruses. The band wastes little time making this known, as the chorus in opener "Liars Are for Punching" soars above the verses with the majesty of an eagle, relying heavily on solid vocal harmonies and a couple of strategically placed "whoa"s to drive the point home. Same for the second track, the incredibly catchy "A New Reason to Rise."

The band's street punk leanings show up rather prominently on tracks like "History Does What?", a song carried largely by a bouncing rhythm section, and "Jackson's Coal," the latter also being the poppiest material here by a mile thanks to some lighter guitar tones and a slight decrease in tempo.

Moodier times are present in a handful of the Shaking Hands' other tunes, notably the driving "A Burning Ship of Fools," the loud and jagged "Battling Decay," and "God Willing," which lyrically questions the motives of some select religious zealots and their role during wartime: "Let the wicked and righteous sing / They're the ones who have always had their say / Chanting redundancy until the last day."

As previously mentioned, there's nothing on The Shaking Hands that's groundbreaking, but the record succeeds by being just diverse enough and incorporating two solid influences without losing focus. If this were a straight-up street punk record or a by-the-numbers melodic hardcore record, it'd probably be pretty forgettable. But as is, The Shaking Hands is a rather enjoyable, easily digested slab of good ol' punk rock.