White Ghost Shivers
Need to Shake It
Reviewed by Kevin Curtin, Fri., June 1, 2018
Showcasing uncanny vintage wit, Cella Blue fashions a double entendre out of an intruder rifling through her dresser with anonymous sex in standout cut "Who's That in My Drawers?" That sort of wiener-warming hokum, an old-timey subgenre characterized by innuendo, falls directly in the strike zone of the White Ghost Shivers' wah-wah-wailing frontwoman. She capitalized on nether-region references with "Sweet Banana" off the group's previous LP, 2011's Nobody Loves You Like We Do. On fourth full-length Need to Shake It, the first since the departure of towering tenor banjoist Westen Borghesi (aka Shorty Stump), the vaudevillian vets never sound short-staffed. Their campy distillation of whorehouse swing, hillbilly hayride, and parlor jazz still spins like a 78 rpm prohibition party mix behind instrumental focal point Lyon Graulty. Which isn't to imply they're living in the past. On the single-worthy "Crosseyed Traffic (Mopacalypse Now)," singing guitar ace Jeremy Slemenda cleverly laments this once sleepy "hippie town" becoming a perpetual traffic jam. Meanwhile, fiddle sawer Curtis Thomas, with an eccentric rasp akin to Shel Silverstein, completes WGS' vocal trifecta on enlivened barn burner "Ain't That Sumptin'," its dance-demanding potential only rivaled by the anthemic title track.