Like Southern Culture on the Skids or Reverend Horton Heat, the Shack Shakers cook up a scrumptious mlange of country twang, rockabilly reverb, and punkish rock spirit, turning the rustic sounds of their Nashville home into a riotous backwoods hootenanny. The band members embark on their second release minus guitarist Joe Buck, who helped write their debut, but they're little worse for wear. While Believe is not as rambunctious and unpredictable sonically, there's more boogie in the band members' hips, from the swamp blues rave-up "Piss and Vinegar," to the fiddle-led gypsy waltz "Agony Wagon," to the rocket-fueled "Cussin' in Tongues," which would fit snugly within the Reverend's catalogue. The tempos have also slowed, replaced with more blues flavor, from the harmonica prison blues sound of "Help Me" to the dark Stones-y swagger of "All My Life to Kill." Buck's departure clearly changed the band's trajectory from a no-holds-barred attack to a more firmly roots-driven approach, but the tighter focus produces an album that flows more easily. Consisting of renegade Nashville establishment musicians, the Shack Shakers' live shows are incendiary affairs keyed to fine playing and front man J.D. Wilke's animated stage persona.
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