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Shakedown! Review

by Bret Love

Do you remember the '80s? This quartet does, and their debut album is the most heartfelt paean to the decade of John Hughes movies and new wave hair since...well, since the '80s. To quote the classic '80s movie title, theSTART have "all the right moves," from the retro-sounding keyboards and bouncy synth pop grooves to frontwoman Aimee Echo's distinctive voice, which falls somewhere between the cutesy coo of Gwen Stefani and the sensual purr of Siouxsie Sioux. The title track opens the album with a blast, with a throbbing pogo beat that gives way to a raucous post-punk chorus ("Rise up! Dance to a different beat") that sounds like a call to arms for anyone sick of teen pop and rap-rock. "Gorgeous" is no less infectious, with an off-kilter rhythm and a hook that sounds cut straight from the Go-Go's' songbook, while "Dirty Lion" sounds like No Doubt and Gary Numan jamming on a Lipps Inc. cover. The album loses some steam around the midway point, and at times the retro kitsch wears a bit thin. But if you're one of those Generation Xers who can quote The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink at will, Shakedown! provides many moments of flashback fun.

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