The indie-psych rockers of Shaky Shrines are prolific: In just two years, they’ve released three EPs, two full-lengths, a 7-inch and a single. In October the band offered up Shaky at Best. Recorded at Machine Age Studios, the album has an early-2000s hipster vibe to it: kind of Strokes-y, with some obvious nods to the Brian Jonestown Massacre and Dandy Warhols. Throw in some Kinks and you probably have a good idea of what’s in lead singer/songwriter Braden Faisant’s record collection.
But Faisant’s voice and melodies — along with superb backing musicianship — keep Shaky at Best from sounding like a throwback. The album evokes some darkness and portrays existential crises throughout. The melodies, though, are generally pretty poppy, which creates a nice dynamic.
The band started three years ago, when Faisant and Nate Hanson began writing songs and painstakingly recording them, with Faisant on drums and vocals and Hanson on guitar. The result was their self-titled debut.
“We recorded those first tracks in a stupid long process with outdated equipment,” says Faisant via email. “[F]or instance I’d record just the kick drum, then listen to the kick drum in headphones and record snare on top of it—and we continued this process for the whole kit and then guitars.”
Shaky Shrines has come a long way from track-by-track recording. The recording process of Shaky at Best took just over two weeks and showcases masterful production — something to be expected with Dave Cerminara, also of Treelady Studio, acting as head engineer. (He also contributed some guitar parts.) Additionally, bassist Nate Campisi is an engineer at Mr. Small’s studio, adding a deeper layer of production sense to the outfit.
The cover art complements the tripped-out vibe of the record: A burned-out, aging king vomits a rainbow through a castle. The art’s creator, Jeremy Beightol, was commissioned by Shaky Shrines to produce a 29-by-29-inch painting of what would become the cover art.
“[The record] is a 10 upbeat tracks with happy melodies [and] depressing, drug- and anxiety-riddled lyrics,” Faisant explains, “and I was super honored that [Beightol] took the time to find out what the record was about and I feel as though he completely captured the vibe.”
Listen to Shaky at Best at shakyshrinespgh.bandcamp.com.