Album Reviews

Whiskey Shivers

Some Part of Something

Artist:     Whiskey Shivers

Album:     Some Part of Something

Label:     Rhyme and Reason Records

Release Date:     7.21.17  

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Whiskey Shivers has its most obvious roots in bluegrass, but it’s not a niche so much as a jumping-off point. Fiddle, banjo and harmonica get used in familiar ways and yet also dragged into modern pop and hardcore punk. The result is a rowdy party band from the rough side of hicksville—virtuosic, high-energy and sometimes crusty as an old biker. They waste no time getting in your face, kicking off with a rough-and-tumble “Cluck Ol’ Hen” as gritty as I’ve ever heard it (look up the video if you’ve got a strong stomach and want the disturbingly funny effect in full).

Things go through plenty of other modes, though, showing an admirable range with mostly original material. Alongside the brassy streak, there’s a surprising (and surprisingly sincere) love theme popping up in spots. It may be easy to miss the touching aspect of foot-stompers such as “Like a Stone,” but they’re also willing to close with a fireside reading of Daniel Johnston’s “True Love (Will Find You in the End)” that’s purely straight-faced.

Granted, there’s also a rude post-breakup hatesong (not to be confused with a certain Cee-Lo Green hit), so don’t go expecting too many warm fuzzies. Whiskey Shivers accepts both the pleasant and unpleasant sides of life as part of the same complicated mess. That’s probably a key reason why they pack such an effective punch. In the end it’s really about coming together, and sharing their down moments also makes the ups stand out that much more. Some Part of Something offers a brash serving of yee-haw Americana with a side of skull tattoos and brass knuckles. It’s meant to fire you up and wring you out, sort of like a frenemy who’ll kick your ass and then get you both happily hammered on rum shots to make it up afterwards.

—Geno Thackara

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