KUMD Album Review: The Shacks

Nov 30, 2016

The Shacks | The Shacks EP

Shannon Wise and Max Shrager walked into the studio in Queens, New York, on a whim one day in 2014 and left under a new name, The Shacks. The duo holds its own with Shrager’s musical skills that have been recognized since the tender age of 14 and Wise’s feathery voice to form their self-titled release, The Shacks EP.

The band whispers sweet nothings into the ears of their listeners with an ease not often found in two barely legal adults. However, this silky rock duo was never the type to adhere to the standards. Wise grew up surrounded by music, with her singer-songwriter mother and producer father; there was always a steady stream of artists in and out of Wise’s childhood home. It’s no surprise she kept on their path following musical notes until she became friends with Max Shrager, an experienced musician, producer and writer, while in high school.

The EP opens with “This Strange Effect” with Wise’s breathy murmurs over Shrager’s synth piano and horns in their rendition of English pop singer, Dave Berry’s song from 1965. The Shacks evoke a nostalgic vibe of ‘50s and ‘60s rock, helping to keep the soul of the song alive even in 2016.

‘Left It With Moon” practically sets the scene of two forlorn lovers searching for each other by light of the moon, but this romantic picture is offset by the bright xylophone beat that carries the song from start to finish.

The Shacks have taken some lessons from the past but still like to add their own quirky flair. How quirky? Well their first music video for the song “Orchids” follows an out of this world tale about an alien, played by Wise, falling in love with Shrager and then leaving him with a strange, glowing baby. So just a tad bit weird

The first song recorded by the band, “Strange Boy,” oddly enough ends the EP on a soulful note. “Strange boy I talk you up, I’ll drink the Kool-Aid from your cup.” Supposedly this song, written and composed by Shrager, was waiting for Wise’s vocals to breathe life into the words and notes on paper. After one take and Wise’s first attempt at recording in a studio, The Shacks emerged from the fusion of both musicians genius and are propelling forward after their successful first release.