The Rhythm Shakers (Marlene Perez: vocals/rhythm guitar; Victor Mendez (Steel Toe): bass; Angel Hernandez: drums; Andrew Himmler ( Hype Machine): guitar) take care of business in Flipsville! Solid instrumentals produce the perfect structure for a voice that can be alluring and gruff, sonorous and gristly, forthright and darkly emotional. And it’s just that range of expression that kept me listening. Perez can match the best sirens of the 1950s and her love of the genre shines through on every one of the tracks, most of which she penned herself.
“Flipsville,” the Stormy Gayle classic, is sweetly and admirably sung by Perez with masterful accompaniment from the rest of the band. Perfectly paced with just enough nuance to call it her own, Perez dominates the 1950s standard without missing a beat, note or riff from the original.
Also worth a mention is the exceptional piano work in “The Rock Around,” and an overall slamming “What You Do to Me.”
But what surprised me the most was the CDs final song, “Broken Heart.” After a CD full of strong, confident ballads, the band brings the album to a close with a twist. From dominating songstress, Perez, with this final number, is able to aurally flash a moment of sorrowful desire and loss. And by offering up this bit of honesty, a fuller portrait emerges. It’s one that gives us a richer view of the band’s artistry and talent.
The Rhythm Shakers move beyond a static and dusty rehash of Rockabilly standards by presenting us with that essential Rockabilly trait that keeps the genre alive today: undiluted human emotion. And Perez transmits these stories with an energy that can be both hard-rocking and darkly sensitive. Well done.