California Rock Doo-Wop
There are so many aspects to discuss when it comes to Shannon and the Clams. The trio bring influences from their upbringings in NorCal, Central California and Oregon to produce songs infused with 50s doo-wop, surf rock, garage rock, pop, and more. Shannon Shaw’s vocals (she also plays bass for the band) are sultry, sexy and gritty all at once on their latest full-length release, Gone By The Dawn.
Her vocals combined with guitarist Cody Blanchard’s vocals absolutely force the album to stand out. While the bass, guitar and drums (Nate Mahan) are perfectly fine and unique in their own ways, they mostly serve as a backdrop to the raw and emotional vocals.
Lyrically, the listener is taken through breakup and heartache from beginning to end. “One last taste of moon beams before the dawn,” she yearns for in opener “I Will Miss the Jasmine”; “You let me rust, you let me die / When I was a jewel, shining for you / You let me rust and I wonder why / Covered in rust,” she says in closer “You Let Me Rust”; and Blanchard yells his reasons why it’s too late to make it right in “It’s Too Late.”
The toe-tapping songs like “I Will Miss the Jasmine” and “Telling Myself” are typically the more enjoyable ones, but there are several slower-paced songs on the album worth listening to particularly for the vocals, like single “Corvette,” where Shaw sings in a low voice about waiting for a Corvette driven by a lover that never comes. The aesthetic and video remind you of the prom-night-gone-awry Disney movie Susie Q. “The Bog” sounds like it could be a remixed and remastered ballad from the late 1800s. And there are plenty of unique sounds that get you asking, “What the hell was that instrument?”
The only real issue with Gone By The Dawn is that it can become too predictable, despite all attempts at making it anything but, especially with the slower tracks. “My Man,” for instance, can almost get annoying repeating those two words over and over in a shrilling high pitch. Nonetheless, Gone By The Dawn should be considered praise-worthy amongst the Shannon and the Clams collection.