Wednesday, November 30, 2011
It's been a long time since I've rock and rolled is a mantra that's especially true in the case of 22-20's. This once rising UK band was in the heart of the rock and roll revival back in 2003-2004 and then promptly disappeared. They were a snotty, grotty, rock and roll band that seemed destined for great things but they never happened. Now, nearly an eon in music terms has elapsed and the band have returned. With their latest album Shake/Shiver/Moan in hand it's easy to say it's about as close to their former-selves as darkness is to light. Gone are the grotty rock and roll bits and here are the vaguely psychedelic twists and turns that have ended up making the 22-20's sound something like the legendary Coral meets the even more legendary Byrds.
With loads of off kilter riffing, Beatles-like ballads, jangly jumpy pop tunes, Shake/Shiver/Moansounds like the band started completely from scratch and rebuilt themselves from the ground up. I have to say, this version of the 22-20's is by far superior to the original and it's evident in just about every song here. Sure there are still plenty of rock and roll elements influencing the band, but there are also plenty of side journeys down trippy lanes covered with kaleidoscopic colors. It's fantastic stuff that's truly in touch with the past while maintaining a sense of pop and a sense of modernity. Shake/Shiver/Moan is such a vast improvement over this bands earlier material, and quite honestly, it's left me in awe.
From the Byrdsian jangle of, "Ocean," to the jumpy nervous rock and roll, "Latest Heartbreak," or the hallucinogenic trip of the title track, it's as if the 22-20's are bound and determined to take advantage of their new lease on life. Shake/Shiver/Moanis packed with strong songs, mature songwriting, and a sense of old is new all over again. This is a record that feels as comfortable with a flower in it's hair lost in strawberry fields as much as it does on the road at full throttle easy rider style. That being said, it's easy to say that the 22-20's are the perfect embodiment of psychedelic pop and rock and roll and they're clearly unafraid to mix it all up to obtain brilliant results. This is a band that have come a long, long way and have taken the round about way to get where they are but in the end with an album like Shake/Shiver/Moan it was well worth the journey. It's a journey worth taking and thy're inviting you along for the ride.