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Album Review: Shannon & The Clams ‘Onion’

Let me just begin by saying that I was so instantly enamored by this album that I listened to it non-stop over and over again so many times that I was able to knit an entire scarf from scratch. Shannon & The Clams have done it again. Their fifth studio album Onion came out February 16th via Easy Eye Sound and it is obsession-worthy.

The album obviously has their signature doo-wop sound with hints of surf rock and old school country vibes that we’ve all come to know and love so much. However, Onion is filled with layers (hence the album name) and intricate details that only musicians who put all of their heart and soul into their work could’ve created.

The title track is already song of the year in my book. It perfectly captures the way doo-wop is so skillfully able to (and known for) taking a tragedy and making it catchy. The intense and depressing-if-you-actually-think-about-it lyrics are set to a fun song that you’ll never get sick of, even after it’s been stuck in your head forever.

The lyrics, “I’m working on it /holy shit, I didn’t know I had so many problems/ Holy shit, this isn’t it / no one told me I was just an onion” sings gleefully to a bubbly beat with harmonies and distorted guitars that make you want to be a dancing misfit.

Having Dan Auerbach (The Black Keys) as their producer on this run made me a little nervous. Like many high profile musicians who dabble in producing, sometimes instead of guiding the band and their music they end up making the album sound more like themselves rather than the actual group their producing. You know what I mean? I was afraid this new album would lose that special Shannon & The Clams sound that makes me want to listen to their albums so many times on repeat. However, Auerbach’s touches are subtle and wholly agree with the band’s own style. I believe the shared love for musicians like Buddy Holly and other ’50s rockers brought these guys together and helped them to musically-mesh flawlessly.

Remember back in the day when you were still somewhat innocent that you could enjoy a new album like it was the first time you ever heard any kind of music ever? I am long passed that point in my life (especially working as a music journalist) but Shannon & The Clams are still able to stir that part of me up.

You can experience that too with Onion.

Follow Shannon & The Clams @shannonandtheclams.

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