On their new album “I need you to know” — featured on the cover art with the quotation marks included — the sonically quite intense German band Shakers deliver a gripping portrait of deeply unsettling emotional volatility. The frequently intense but consistently unsteady, desperation-wracked songs feel like a musical encapsulation of the emotional version of the tumult of a storm-swept sea.
The band build their tracks on very solid and engaging post-hardcore melody, but they develop the music into increasingly caustic territory, with the desperate lurches of pained melodic hardcore and frantic screamo repeatedly ringing out through the mix like representations of desperately trying to find some kind of security but failing amidst the soundscapes that the band have captured.
Among other highlights, the album’s second track, called “Spin,” exemplifies the band’s approach poignantly. The first minute or so features softly swinging riffing that, even in its relatively gentle contemplations, feels wracked with emotionally draining desperation thanks to the unsteady dynamics. The band quickly launch into rushing streaks of erratic guitar and drum rhythms that feel like Shakers have turned a richly realistic experience of painful loss amidst an interpersonal relationship into a somehow phosphorescently vibrant display. Moments like the following track, “Swan Song,” continue the band’s penchant for building up into increasingly frantic but richly immersive soundscapes of a real emotional chaos, always held together by the desperate sounding vocals and frequently startlingly erratically spinning rhythms.
Their intermingling of heavy guitar lines with meaty, winding drum rhythms makes for an immersively vibrant dynamic. The desperately lurching, swinging dynamics of the aggressive yet emotionally upheaved music fit right in with the also varying vocal tones. There are feelings of angry frustration, emotional devastation, and more, and the melodically orchestrated dynamics make the lyrics feel like they’re telling real life stories in real time.
The music itself feels, in a sense, like a sonic encapsulation of the process of pain, sadness, release, and other elements of a complicated emotional tapestry bubbling up from within. There’s a lot of anxiety and uncertainty in the sometimes rapidly shifting melodies, but the consistently substantive forward push grounds that unease in an emotionally palpable experience. “I need you to know” feels, quite simply, like the soundtrack for getting the words out when past attempts have failed. It’s an experience of cathartic release that doesn’t necessarily promise a happy ending but does both promise and deliver the release of something pent-up via the intermingling cascades of guitar and drum rhythm.
Lyrics from the album’s particularly aggressive seventh track, called “If It’s Done With, It’s Eternal,” feel like they sum up the band’s approach quite memorably — although really, all the lyrics feel quite memorably sincere.
On “If It’s Done With, It’s Eternal,” the still emotionally pained-sounding vocalist shares: “I’ve spilled my all/ I can’t see but I can stare/ Terror on the front lawn/ Hands thrown in the air/ Nothing! Nothing!/ Lose your voice just ’cause you can.”
Check out the music below! The album is available via the German label Konglomerat Kollektiv.