What began years ago as a solo effort for Jordan Doucet evolved from a few guitar and piano tracks into one of the heaviest punk albums of the 2017. That’s exactly what Halifax’s Gun Jr. did on their new album The Shakes, which came out Friday, October 13th, and to do that, they needed to get messy.
Not only did they nail it with the release date, the whole album offers your classic ‘band’s first punk album’ energy and attitude. Gun Jr. brings a certain tone and structure that’s all their own, making the work on this punk/grunge album a rarity these days.
The band consists of Jordan Doucet (vocals/rhythm guitar), Patrick Wafer (lead guitar), Greg Toole (Bass), and David R. Elliott (drums). Like many first releases, the content of The Shakes is mainly made up of songs that were written long before the band got together. What sets this album apart from all those other eager punk-rock first releases is how much of a transition the songs made from their original versions. Even though many of the tracks on the album had been written by Jordan Doucet several years before, it’s clear they were never truly done being written until they were completed by Gun Jr.
When taking material that was already considered done or complete, you want to make sure you can stay true to that original version, especially when bringing in other musicians and creative styles.
The Shakes stays true to the effort and originality of the songs while bringing in wicked dark grunge vibes along the way. A few tunes on the album, like “Loose Canon” and “Exhale the Dread,” still have remnants of the solo performance style in which the songs were originally written, both starting out with guitar and vocals before more layers come into the mix. Other tracks on the album, such as “Trouble,” “Wolf” and “This Hole,” turned out very differently than they were originally written, showing how far the band had brought the original sound.
Throughout the album, there are many unexpected turns, but they happen in all the right places. Even if you might think you aren’t a fan of a certain track, you’ll find yourself getting into it by the end. There’s no fighting it. Fast-paced riffs and perfectly timed lead-guitar melodies in each song leave you wanting more and more from one song to the next.
The album even features an old David R. Elliott tune, “Autumn Rose,” which the band managed to squeeze in and make their own.
“The chemistry that this band has is its greatest quality,” says the band. “This became very obvious during the session in which we figured out Autumn Rose.”
This chemistry can be heard throughout the album and is a good representation of the solid work put into it. The Shakes offers something for any fan of rock or any offshoot of the genre. The dedication, chemistry and sense of pride that this album represents should almost act as a posterchild for anyone looking to expand their creative horizons.