October 25, 2001

Test Spins: The Start

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The Start has arrived just in time, filling the void left by good ’80s nostalgia bands and adding a touch of femme rock and metal to the mix. They successfully create an original sound, heavy on synths and the energetic vocals of lead singer Aimee Echo, creating one of the better debut albums of the year. The record varies from radio-accessible pop like “Gorgeous,” a mix of Garbage and No Doubt, to heavily techno-influenced songs like “Communion” and “Dirty Lion.” The title track is somewhere in between, with a perfect balance of rock and electronics.

“Her Song” is a fast-paced, trance-y tribute to female identity, the chorus reflecting Echo’s concerns for the future with the line, “How do you get so old?” In fact, the passage of time is a major theme of the album, and rightly so for a band that draws on the past as inspiration. The songs sound fresh at first, but may lose their luster after repeated listenings. Nevertheless, Shakedown! proves that The Start has only just begun.

Archived article by Andy Guess