Proudly proclaimed as “the world’s only beatbox-blues album”, Heymoonshaker’s debut, Shakerism, certainly comes highly anticipated based on word of mouth from their live shows.
Heymoonshaker are Dave Crowe (beatboxing) and Andy Balcon (guitar and vocals) and, as I recently witnessed, they create an astonishing sound in a live environment that, at times, confounded any expectation. This combines relatively traditional blues guitar and vocals backed by hip-hop and dubstep influenced beatbox rhythms.
I did wonder how this would translate to record and the results are a mixed bag. While their live show really seems to focus on Crowe’s impressive vocal rhythms, the album, wisely it turns out, leans more toward showing off Balcon’s work. So we get a range of blues tones from dirty electric sounds to semi-acoustic ‘Dobro’ resonator vibes, topped with Balcon’s vocals which follow a similar range and are fiery, impassioned and soulful in suitably equal measure.
Unfortunately a number of the tracks highlight the beatboxing and, while this works excellently live, on the record something seems to be missing in capturing just how impressive the range of sounds Crowe is capable of creating is. So, rather than impressive dubstep style bass drops and the like, what can be heard on the disc just seems to get lost.
This is a real shame as, while the songs show promise, and the band have a formidable, and worthy, live reputation, Shakerism fails to capture this successfully and, if I hadn’t been witness to Heymoonshaker on stage, it would, I think, have caused the record to entirely miss the mark.
So, if you even half like the sound of the record, go out of your way to see this band live!