"Whales Sing," the opening track on the Shaky Hands' debut album, features an extended organ and percussion instrumental groove that balances right on the edge of being a complete rip-off of Otis Redding's "I Can't Turn You Loose" as played by a bunch of indie-kid record store clerks. After that promising opening, the Portland, OR band quickly devolve into yet another post-Elephant 6 band of shambling, amiable dudes who seem to think that carefully deployed echoes of obscure old psych, folk and psych-folk records will make up for a lack of quality songwriting. Sometimes they come close: the jangly, sunshiny "Sunburns" sounds like Of Montreal on a big Harpers Bizarre kick, and "Host Your Day" and "Hold It Up" both bring the nervy, Krautrock-influenced rush of an old Flying Nun Records single. But the tunes aren't as catchy and memorable as they need to be, and the less said about Nicholas Delffs' weedy, off-key vocals, the better. Shaky Hands is proof that liking the right bands is not always enough.
AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason