I wish I could say that Massachusetts-based bands continually surprise me with their excellence but, at this point, I kind of expect it. So when a close friend and local musical guru posts a link to a band around these parts that I don’t already know about then I already have expectations. Luckily, Salem Wolves is another one of those MA bands that just brings it and their latest, Shake, is the proof in the pudding.
“Cindi” and “Centipede” do the job of easing you into Salem Wolves’ brand of American Rawk which has an almost underground Born To Run feel at times with a little of The Von Bondies thrown in for good measure. And after a scorching solo from Dan McMahon towards the end of the latter, listeners get another scorcher in the form of “Die Like Dogs” which segues nicely into the blues-infused “Moonlight” giving more depth to an already solid record. And we’re barely halfway in!
Then “B.D.F.” opens with a huge sing-a-long verse? Could it get any more awesome? The answer is a resounding “YES!” Add Eliahu Sussman’s thunderous drumming to the equation with Gray Bouchard’s soulful pipes and you have a recipe for, and there’s that word again, excellence. Next, Harrison Swyter’s bass is all over the brooding “Sanctuary City”, as he weaves in and out of the solid pounding from Sussman with Bouchard’s voice ringing out.
The title track is just the kick-in-the-ass rawker that modern rock music needs right now while “Black Books” is another that shows off SW’s diversity and songwriting depth amidst MORE CATCHY SING-A-LONGS!!! “Reckless & Ready” is a whole new ballgame and slows things down for the conclusion with its’ acoustic-laden tendencies. But just when you think the song will plateau, it goes for new explosive heights resulting in a banger of a finale.