RICK SHAFFER: “STOLEN MOMENTS” BALANCES

GARAGE PRIMITIVISM AND SMART ROCK CRAFT!

2017 marks Rick Shaffer’s eighth solo album, “Stolen Moments”, which was inspired by the concept that there are no guarantees or promises in life.  Throughout his career, Shaffer has turned over every possible stone, and he’s decimated them all into a thousand pieces. He helped jump start punk rock, merged seamlessly into garage rock and found success with The Reds©, a band he co-founded, he has since found his way to solo punk and garage rock releases among other projects. That all makes his new record an incredibly hard act to follow. What else is there left to conquer? The proto-garage raver to end all garage ravers, that’s what!

Rick Shaffer’s art balances garage primitivism and smart rock craft, which will frequently draw avant-gardists and casual listeners alike, to his unique rock n’ roll fervor. Combining jagged, roaring guitars and fast-slow dynamics with raw melodic vocals, intertwining harmonics, and evocative, lyrics, Shaffer is an accomplished musicians who is not afraid to wail and bash out chords while his lead guitar squeals out spirals of beautiful noise.

The music’s shrieking power will cover every emotional and intellectual territory inside your cluttered brain, as “Stolen Moments” pushes the envelope, redefines, and ultimately sets fire to the foundations of everything currently found under the rock tag and all its sub-genres.

It is of course, abrasive in parts, but it is not inaccessible to even mainstream radio. I could easily imagine tracks such as Downtown Suzy, Modern Lie, Time Stays and Call My Name blaring from my radio. It may take some time to get past the squalls of raw power, but once you do, it is easy to see that this actually is a very melodic album. The guitars wail and scream and Shaffer uses his instrument like few others do today. A great full-length from one of the smartest, ingenuous artists foraging within the genre, in my humble opinion.

No theatrics, no sense of hip or cool. Just the basics. The performances themselves are delivered in variable doses of bone crushing, elegance, beauty, raw, power, and color. The great thing about Rick Shaffer is that he is an artist that does everything so right. The vocals are fierce and emotive, Teddy Rixon’s bass like loud, delicate thunder, Stevie Carlisle’s drums smart, inventive, and solidly anchored.

And then there is Shaffer’s guitar, bearing the responsibility of bringing all those twisted, sonic sounds right into your stereo. Of course, there are the songs that exult those qualities, among them: All I Want, One In Five, Higher, Chopping Wood and Danger Awaits. Rick Shaffer is for real, and “Stolen Moments” is an immense creative process transformed into musical form, one that is impossible to ignore.

• Rick Jamm — TUNED LOUD!