Hailing from all four corners of the globe, Leeds based sextet Shaku release their driving new album ‘Maku’.
Shaku have been on my radar ever since my first tentative steps into the music scene of Leeds. Their live performances are something that have stuck with me for their raucous energy and the audience’s socks being collectively blown off. The notion of stage presence or choreographed uniformity is disregarded with Shaku. It is in their nature to entertain, with the chaos and vivacity of 6 guys being genuinely stoked to play their music to anyone that is willing to listen.
“Progressing through ‘Maku’ was encapsulating and a genuine pleasure”
The personality and mayhem of their live performance’s feeds straight in to this album. The first track ‘Explosive’ is aptly titled. A driving force of epic 70s prog-rock lead guitar tones and chugging bass lines, ‘Explosive’ takes the form of a Steely Dan tune with the epic grandeur of a TOTO hit. Close my eyes and I’m fighting crime in the dimly lit streets of Chicago or riding in the passenger seat with Starsky and Hutch as we drive in slow-mo through a conveniently placed pile of cardboard boxes.
Just as my head nodding comes to an end, it is quickly back up and running, this time to the slinky groove of the single ‘Scraps’. This is a Shaku tune that encapsulates their performances the most. It is unpredictable and playful, crossing from heavy funk down to the sultry, hushed tones of lead singer Noiak’s vocals. A prime example of their self-titled genre of ‘Frog rock’.
Progressing through ‘Maku’ was encapsulating and a genuine pleasure. Songs like ‘Wow’, a 37 second round of applause and collective cheer from the band, had me almost spitting out my tea, as well as a short recital of the script to 2007 Andy Samberg hit ‘Hot Rod’ during the intro to the eponymous track. A reminder that the six aren’t taking anything all that seriously, which makes each song all the more impressive. His moustache will grow.
Overall, I can’t say just how much I enjoyed listening to this album. Stylistically, Shaku have hit the nail on the head with production value and instrumental virtuosity alike and I can’t wait to catch them live again.
Words – Niall Summerton