The Shanks Thunder Away on ‘Black Jack’
For more than a decade, the Shanks have been giving their own take on the two-person garage rock sound. Last month, they delivered their fifth full-length record, Prisons of Ecstasy, and you can listen to one of its tracks, “Black Jack,” below.
Based out of Mono Township, Ontario, Canada, the Shanks are comprised of bassist/singer St. Pistolwhip von Shakenstein (Ian Donald Starkey) and drummer Colonel Crankshaft (John David Brummel). The chorus of “Black Jack” gives a pretty good definition of what their overdriven, bass-heavy sound is like. “We find the time for listening to feedback and hearing the chimes / Time to feel the thunder under the floor.”
Prisons of Ecstasy is the second release on Starkey’s own Here to Everywhere Entertainment label, following last year’s X EP, and their first LP since 2014’s Surfing the Lexicon, which was nominated for Album of the Year by Exclaim!. As Starkey told AXS, Prisons was originally intended to be a musical in which “a young creative type living in a brutal totalitarian regime (which we were going to fully design ourselves) is jailed for artistic expression and ends up going into a fully contemplative state in order to survive life on the inside (an enduring theme in the history of incarceration).”
Starkey added that it is “loosely autobiographical” and that the title ” seemed to also mirror a very turbulent period in my life and the life of people around me: the emotions that accompanied my own crisis of faith. There have been many wonderful transformations flow out of all these events and the hope that I have carried is also part of this music.”
A deluxe edition of Prisons of Ecstasy will arrive on Oct. 14. It contains a bonus track and a lyric booklet that has liner notes by Starkey. The Shanks are looking to embark on a tour soon and you can keep up-to-date on their activities at their website.
Listen to “Black Jack” by the Shanks
The 50 Best Albums of 2015