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Album Review
Gone By Dawn

Gone By Dawn
by Shannon And The Clams

Hardly Art

Review Date
20th October 2015
Reviewed by
Samuel Ralston

Primarily informed by garage punk, doo wop, and girl groups of the 60s, Shannon And The Clams have authenticated a raw and revised back-catalogue of primitive rock and roll. Gone By Dawn is the fourth studio album from the Oakland trio and, as the title suggests, the separation of mourning lovers is a theme that runs though the record. It's loaded with seductive fables of teen heartbreak, longing soul ballads, and dropout garage stompers.

Where their previous release In The Rat House (2011), was a wild garage bedrock growl, Gone by The Dawn is more a considered, cohesive and honest reflection of the Clams’ unashamed nostalgia. The production and arrangements are not as overdriven or primal, however lead singer and bassist Shannon Shaw (who also plays and writes for Hunx and his Punx) is an immense vocal powerhouse. At times howling and guttural, other times tender and sweet. Standout tracks ‘My Man’ and ‘Point Of Being Right’, immediately conjure up lost memories of The Marvelettes or a Supremes song you've known all of your life. They are reinvented and tougher than any girl group were. A vintage gem, unearthed for the first time. Which is the beauty of the Clams. On paper, they should be really be, revivalist, derivative and twee. But this album is demonstrates how unyielding, and faithful they are to their influences.

Lead single ‘Corvette’ perfectly ties the two halves of the album together, with dreamy seduction and yearning vocals. It's hard not to grin with the line: "I liked the leather on my buns, my god we are the lucky ones”. Later in the album they display their characteristic raucous swing with neanderthal garage anthems you would expect from the Clams, like the punk shuffle of ‘Knock ‘Em Dead’ and the cave boogie of “The Bog’, but they almost stand out uncomfortably with the rest of the record’s ernest sensibility. Gone By Dawn is nicely bookended by the seemingly paired “I Will Miss The Jasmine’ and “You Let Me Rust’ both with a shuffling teen party twist and sci-fi organ surf grind solos.

It may slightly disappoint the Clams’ garage fans who expect more of their lo-fi primitive tendencies, but for most this is an album that will seem familiar and charming, something to swoon, shake, and be sentimental to.


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