Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Sunny Days Ahead is a bright ray of sunshine.

February 11, 2009

When someone says “Seattle scene,” my thoughts instantly jump to Nirvana, Soundgarden, and any whatever-have-you grunge band.

Flash forward to the Seattle of the 2000s, and you will find the power pop scene. In that scene, there is a wonderful band called Shake Some Action! which plays some sweet pop songs which shine like the sun in otherwise cloudy Seattle.

Sunny Days Ahead is the second album by Shake Some Action! I haven’t listened to the first, but the strength of this one makes me want to pick it up. Being part of a genre called “power pop,” Shake Some Action! is expectedly very catchy.  Now, I don’t listen to super-catchy music very often, but just listening to Sunny Days Ahead makes me think this is a wrong lifestyle choice. Catchy music is amazing because it’s so happy-sounding and can really lift your mood. It’s bands like Shake Some Action! that give me faith that there are plenty of bands out there who can craft pop masterpieces, even if they mostly go unnoticed.

Shake Some Action! seem to be drawing inspiration from the Monkees, early Beatles,  the Beach Boys…pretty much any super catchy ’60s music group. Now take the harder edge of the Kinks, and add it to some roughness from punk. And voila, you have their brand of power pop.

Shake Some Action! is hardly the only power pop band around, but it’s the only one I’ve heard.  The music style is reminscent of early R.E.M. for being so jangly and fun, probably along the lines of R.E.M’s  Life’s Rich Pageant and Green.  I’m almost tempted to call them a more fun version of R.E.M that doesn’t really mess around with all the heavy and cryptic lyrics.

This album was entirely recorded by one person – James Hall, who played drums, two guitar parts, and bass for the recording. This quite impressive feat goes to show Hall’s musical talent. For live shows, Hall has recruited a band that now frequently plays shows in the Seattle area. Now, if only they got a little bigger and did a tour which came through Oklahoma.

The album is short mostly because the songs are short. These are pop songs, and are meant to be brief and fun. The lyrics don’t really talk about anything deep, but don’t mistake that to mean they don’t talk about anything meaningful. They mostly deal with the theme that makes any pop song great: love. I would call the lyrics familiar rather than cliche.

I recommend Sunny Days Ahead to anyone looking for something poppy, fast-paced, and fun. It’s easy to enjoy as there’s not really much to wrap your head around. Just sit back and have fun!

Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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