The Rhythm Shakers: Casting a spell with “VooDoo”

Review Rating: 5/5 stars

Not all things rock n’ roll come dressed in double-pedal drum beats and distorted guitar riffs. On their new album “VooDoo“, Los Angeles based psychedelic-rockabilly band, The Rhythm Shakers, take the genre back to its roots while still holding onto some modern-day edge. It’s enough to make you want to dance (The Slide), cry (Leaving Me) and say good riddance to all those past lovers who did you dirty (To Another Man).

The album begins with the title track, “VooDoo” in which the nature of the song is every bit as haunting as its name. Andrew Himmler, the guitarist, plays an eerie riff that slowly creeps into the eardrums, becoming louder until the playing stops and Marlene Perez – the band’s feisty cherry-haired front woman – steps in.

After her grand entrance, the entire four-piece begins playing along together in sync with one another. Although the beat is somewhat repetitive, it’s what to be expected when listening to rockabilly, since the genre has a very basic formula. When listening to rockabilly bands, there are no fancy drum fills or extremely complicated guitar solos. However, that doesn’t mean the hooks are any less catchy throughout the duration of the song.

The real gem behind the album is definitely Perez’s vocals. She has the ability to reach Janice Joplin-like proportions, but can also bring the tone down to lower ballad-levels. The power of her voice amps up the hints of feminism that are scattered amongst her lyrics (“You try to convince me that I need you/When I know I don’t” – Rather Be Alone), making Perez an instant advocate for “girl power”.

Underneath the Chuck Berry vibes, The Rhythm Shakers also do their best at adding a beachy, surfy type essence into the mix. On the tracks “Love You So” and “Lose My Mind”, bassist Victor Mendez and Perez create a Beach Boy ambiance to accompany the shuffle beat that’s apparent in their songs. This eclectic fuse creates a shift in the album’s focus and gives the ears of listeners a surprise. It’s a nice change that keeps one curious for more music.

Overall, the album (and the band) is definitely worth checking out, especially for those who would like to hear more from bands that are on independent labels. Check them out on Wild Records’ website at or on Facebook. If you can catch them live, do so as they don’t disappoint!

Music video via YouTube.