With 2008's Lunglight hardly put to rest, The Shaky Hands continue to crank out new material with the eleven-track LP release Let It Die. Boasting a cleaner mix and tighter layers, the album rocks just a little bit less than its predecessor, which is actually a good thing, especially for fans of the band's earlier material. Leaving behind the few traces of lo-fi noise, the band continues to nurture its classic rock sound with low-gain electrics and a greater acoustic presence, complimented by multi-voice choruses, bluesy overdrive solos, and the surprisingly palatable vocals which remain the band's only real signature sound (imagine Bob Dylan enunciating his words).
Though Let It Die continues The Shaky Hands' tradition of solid rock n' roll with a bit of an indie garnish, a few spins of the record doesn't leave much in the way of glaringly memorable moments. Sure, tracks like, "Slip Away" and "Caught in the Storm" are certainly catchy while others like "Love Curse" and "Already Gone" demonstrate the band's latent musical diversity, tossing in poppy rhythms with notable piano presence. But while there isn't a bad song on the album, none of them pack the power to command a consistently attentive ear. Potential exceptions come towards the album end: "Gonna Hold You Tonight" is the album's definitive ballad, perfectly executed with a simple G-major lick coupled with an A-minor variation. Throw in bittersweet lyrics and a choral walk-down riff and this tune smacks of classic rock's sensitive side. Immediately following is "Allison and the Ancient Eyes," driven by contour-heavy leads paralleled to a nostalgic vocal line which insists that this tune has been heard before. The only problem, of course, is that the sound is so nostalgic, the listener may spend less time being impressed with The Shaky Hands and more time wondering who first wrote the song -- a fruitless labor since it is, in fact, a Shaky Hands original.
Overall, Let It Die stands miles away from disappointment. It may be that the album doesn't have any songs which stick in the head before leaving the house, but that shouldn't distract from an effort which shows not only much progress in a very short period of time, but also delivers a timeless classic rock sound, which is otherwise fading discretely into a very slow sunset. Perhaps all the band really needs is a recording break longer than a year. -josh cacopardo