, Shakedown

on 5 July 2012 in Record Reviews

6.5 / 10

Competent blues/rock dogged by a lack of originality

There’s nothing necessarily disagreeable about Shakedown, the third album from San Antonio southern rockers Hacienda. It’s polished and – in parts – rumbles with a Black Keys rhythm and grunt (hardly a surprise considering the LP is produced by Keys member Dan Auerbach). The only flaw – and admittedly it’s a hefty one – is that it invokes a nagging dose of déjà vu.

Somewhere along the line we’ve heard this all before, whether it’s the Alex Turner-esque opening riff of ‘Don’t Turn Out The Light’ or the rockabilly 70s AOR of ‘Natural Life’. The flaw wouldn’t be so fatal if Hacienda strayed a little farther from these influencers. At times the band threatens to, but they always end up recoiling, eventually rendering the LP little more than an exercise in nostalgia.

Still, there is an audience for the album, especially for those looking for a companion piece to the Keys’ El Camino. The middle section of the album burns brightest, especially with the obvious single choice of ‘You Just Don’t Know’. It’s proof that when the band gets it right, they hit the mark better than most. This is followed by ‘Don’t Keep Me Waiting’, a tidy rocker that gives more than a few nods to the Steve Miller Band.

Ultimately there’s not a whole lot wrong with the album. Unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot that’s original, either.

- Paul Bonadio

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