Music Reviews

The Shake Ups – Breathing the Flood

Artist Name: The Shake Ups
Album Title: Breathing the Flood
Release Date: 2008
Genre: Rock
Location: San Diego, CA
Label: Gelatinous Productions
Band Members: Patrick O’Connor – lead and backing vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, percussion; Eve Gross – lead and backing vocals, keyboards, glockenspiel; Albert Lu – bass guitar, percussion; Kathie O’Connor – drums and percussion.

Perhaps nobody loves power-pop music more than me. So when The Shake Ups mention influences like The Shins, The New Pornographers, and The Apples In Stereo, my appetite is immediately whetted. Nearly any combination of choppy guitars and sing-able melodies will turn my head in that favorite sound’s general direction. Unfortunately, Breathing the Flood is not exactly what a diehard power-pop aficionado usually bargains for. Instead, this CD has all the right elements; but somehow these weren’t mixed together correctly.

Singers Patrick O’Connor and Eve Gross pair up to comprise The Shake Ups’ center of attention. And while they both sing well together, and sometimes trade off lead vocals, they are by no means Neko Case and A.C. Newman (of The New Pornographers). You might say they have the pop, without the power because this music lacks necessary toughness. Granted, the guitar and organ fit just right during the intro to “You’ve Got the Number”. But when O’Connor and Gross begin to sing it, the lame Quarterflash (Remember “Harden My Heart?”) is suggested, but not something far cooler.

O’Connor and Gross are too polished, too perfect, but not too rock & roll. Great power-pop has all the musicality of pop music, along with the hefty muscle of rock. But The Shake Ups have gotten only half that two-part equation right.

When we get to track 11, “Seismic Waves”, with its extended guitar solo, The Shake Ups finally get the balance right. But on a 12-song release, this victory is too little, too late.

Track Listing:

1 Can’t Stop the Signal
2 Sex Exchange Operation
3 Make Some Noise
4 Slippery Slope
5 Out of Your Mind
6 Trunkey’s March
7 Wishful Sinking
8 Modern Age
9 You’ve Got the Number
10 Monster of the Week
11 Seismic Waves
12 Breathing the Flood

To check out more about a The Shake Ups and hear its music, please visit or

Dan MacIntosh has worked as a a professional music journalist for over 26 years. His work has regularly appeared in many local and national publications, including CCM, CMJ, Paste, Mean Street, Chord, HM, Christian Retailing, Amplifier, Inspirational Giftware, and Country Standard Time as well as

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