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REVIEW - The Shook - 'Hermetic Revelry' (EP)

There are universal laws across space and time which determine how the universe works and of which the seven hermetic principles are prime examples. Sound a little 60s? Sound a little psychedelic? (actually the seven principles are from Ancient Greece & Egypt). I'm gonna go out on a limb and suggest that Michigan band The Shook have titled their new EP having read-up on this stuff - if I've got it wrong boys, please accept my apologies for this somewhat 'florid' opening! But it's true to say that The Shook take their blues infused grooves and psychedelic tones from that era and mix it with a modern rock sensibility and have produced their second highly enjoyable EP, following last year's 'Retrograde' offering.

'Hermetic Revelry' contains four tracks that lope and groove along with slow seeping, infectious melodies and nagging, insistent, gloriously bluesy riffs. Where a lot of bands these days feel it necessary to fill every available nuance with some sonic touch or other, The Shook's songs contain space, light and shade that allow the songs to breathe and the listener to hear every element the quartet produces. With the grooves set-up and carried out by Brandon Billings' spare, fluid drumwork and consolidated by Derek Keller's awesome twangin' sounding bass, Ben Stephenson's guitar lines and riffs sneak in and out of the grooves lending a touch of 'dazzle' to the songs. On top of this, Andrew Newville's distinctive, arch vocals gives life to his searching, questing lyrics.

The EP kicks off with the hip-shaking riffs and duelling guitar and vocals of 'Easy' setting up the EP with a catchy, grooving opener that has you wanting to hear more. The engaging bass intro and more top-notch riffing of 'Return Of The Sun' leads into the fabulous 'Come Out And Enjoy The Ride' chorus and a breakdown that asserts the band's psych influences - not unlike prime era Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane. For me, it's the EP's finest track with plenty to catch the interest in its 3:53 duration. 'Dreamers Disease' is a loping, steady beast of a song replete with double-tracked guitar and solo and 'ghostly' backing vocals while EP closer 'Fire' takes its template from classic early 70s Sabbath (no bad thing!) with 'the groove' replaced with something a little harder-hitting - although The Shook's way with a 'light touch' stops it from becoming too much like something off 'Master Of Reality!'

With very impressive and distinctive artwork - again evincing a 60s pop-art feel - 'Hermetic Revelry' is a marvellous EP taking a number of retro influences and mixing them with a more up-to-date sound in its four tracks. Its bluesy sounds and deep grooves will appeal to any classic rock fans and there are enough differing aspects to the tunes to keep listeners well and truly interested. 'Hermetic' can also mean 'secret' - this is one EP and band that should be far from that.

'Hermetic Revelry' is out now and available from the digital platform of your choice.

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