Friday, October 06, 2017

The Hipshakes - "Shot"

The Hipshakes are on a roll! After going a good number of years without any new singles from these longtime standouts of U.K. garage punk, we were treated to one last year and two more in short order this year. Hot on the heels of that double A-side affair on Crocodile Records ("Listening" b/w "Outside Lines"), "Shot" arrives on Charlie Murphy's Nerve Centre Records. This, to me, is the best yet of this wonderful new lot of Hipshakes singles. Like the rest of the band's more recent releases, it embraces pop, post-punk, and '77 punk influences without losing touch with the group's garage roots. That, to me, has been the recipe for the band's longevity (16 years and counting!). Certainly The Hipshakes have updated their sound over the years, but ultimately they still sound like...The Hipshakes! A-side "Shot" could not be any more up my alley. Think the thrashing minimalism of Pink Flag era Wire, except way poppier. Of course I love it! On the flip, "Samba" enters fist-pumping territory and demands the full capacity of your volume control. This is urgent and anthemic punk rock all the way, with just enough new wave quirks to keep you on your toes. If this one doesn't get you fired up to break out of your monotonous day and go live life, you may be a hopeless case!

With these last few Hipshakes' singles, there has clearly been a great deal of thought put into the song selections. You're never stuck with two songs that sound the same, and it certainly can't be an accident that the B-sides have been just as good as the A-sides. Perhaps outside of the U.K., this band might have fallen off of some people's radar in recent years. But The Hipshakes are clearly still going strong - perhaps stronger than ever! Murphy has already released some really great music by his own bands on the Nerve Centre imprint (if you don't own and love A Little Reaction by Murph & The Gazorpos, I don't know if we can be friends). He couldn't have picked a better band than The Hipshakes for his first "outside" release! This is a top-notch effort from one of the best bands out there. I've got more exciting news related to this label coming very soon, so stay tuned!


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