Bad Reception - The Shook-Ups (Soundflat Records)
If you're wondering how a Fairfisa-and-fuzz garage combo hails from a place like Wigan in darkest north-western England, you're not alone. Madchester, these guys are not. The Shook Ups sound more authentic than most of the '60s punkers from whom they derive their influences. In this case, that's a distinct plus.
There's a lot to be thankful for when you reflect on the first wave of garage bands of the '60s but, if truth be told, most couldn't write enough songs to fill a full album - even they'd been given an opportunity. Most only got one foot out of the garage with a 45 their sole recorded legacy. Even the greats padded their LPs with other peoples' songs - which was a reflection of what promoters demanded live. So when a contemporary band that's so obviously in thrall of the era delivers an album full of terrific songs, it demands attention.
It's hard to know where to start. "Just Perfection" starts with pre-requisite backward masked guitars before morphing into a fuzzed-up rocker with soaring chorus. Organ-driven "Don't Be Wasting My Time" shimmies like the best ? and the Mysterians cut. "Understated Man" is the moody heartstring-tugger, "Burden On Me" (a single B side) is the heavy duty kiss-off to a girl and "New Confession" the stomping call to arms that opens the album.
"Second To None" was the A side of their single but "Don't Come Back" shades it in the songwriting stakes, with moody rise-and-fall dynamics and tightly meshed twin guitars and organ.
The Shook-Ups write great songs of their own but if you're in any doubt where they're coming from there's a spiffing cover of "No Reason To Complain" by The Alarm Clocks.
Songs apart, where The Shook-Ups stand apart from many in this genre is in sheer energy. Brash and fresh and worth tracking down without feeling like you're back-tracking through revivalist turf. Available on vinyl and as a download.