Shamus Raise Your Hand

These self-defined Montreal-based new wave punks are ready to take the world by storm, if this solid 11-track debut album has anything to do with it. The only question you might wonder is how this early 20-something foursome could have become so familiar with and well versed in the early ’80s sound? Elvis Costello and the Clash are two such artists/influences that spring to mind, particularly in terms of vocals and overall punk energy. Producer Don Hachey (the Tea Party, I Mother Earth) and engineer Michael Neron manage to capture the band’s live feel without losing production quality. Catchy punk pop melodies and songs about love, society and emotional confusion make this album easily accessible. Only the final track, a stripped down "Never Maybe Always Still” perhaps lacks the infectious energy and punchy guitar present on the rest of the tracks. While no two tracks sound exactly the same, the guitar/bass/keyboards/drums combination featured throughout this album is certainly analogous to the larger new wave resurgence currently underway. Some great tracks like "Simon Says,” "Seven Pushers” and "Natalie” could draw comparisons to West coast new wave comrades Hot Hot Heat. But there is nothing inherently wrong with that. Unless you despise all things retro, the majority of the tracks on Raise Your Hand are likely to get you nodding along if not up and out of our seat. (Independent)