Shake It… Or Leave It! showcases the Hangovers upbeat rootsy rock over a compact 12 song, 35 minute set, short and sweet without any filler. And while five tracks are reworked versions of songs from the group’s EP, the new recordings are amped-up and outshine the earlier renditions. Most of the songs tend to follow familiar rock and roll themes of escaping the boredom of everyday life through the pleasures of music, women, and booze. The lusty “Shimmy Shorts”, “Hot Mess” and faithful Cramps cover “Cornfed Dames”, as well as nightlife paean “Sleep My Life Away” and “Life Gets In The Way” certainly adhere to these badboy themes. Two of the best songs on the album stake out new territory. Opener “Vampire Rocker”, storms out of the gate in a fury of pounding drums, fiery guitars and yelped vocals, a horror-themed number with a psychobilly edge. And “Mr. Handsome” is an unexpected change of pace, a sinister serial killer tale featuring some great tremelo-fueled twangy guitar.
Shake It… Or Leave It! teams up the Hangovers with producer Jesse James Dale, to good effect. Dale is the frontman for 2-piece sensation Buzz Deluxe, and has moonlighted with the Hangovers on guitar, so he’s the right man to capture these unruly characters in the studio. The Hangovers’ various different sounds are well represented, their rockabilly-flavoured foundation fleshed out with elements of psychobilly, cow-punk, country, and rock and roll, all recorded with a live energy. Shake It… Or Leave It! is a solid first album for the Hangovers, and you can expect to hear more from this greasy crew in the future.
Blue Suede News # 89 Winter 09/2010 -David S. Faris