As the opening track, "Agony Wagon," shuffles out of the starting blocks like some sort of hillbilly klezmer chestnut, complete with violin and clarinet, you can't help but wonder if the Legendary Shack Shakers have done a 180 for their fourth album, 2004's Believe. Further research confirms this isn't quite the case, but Believe does find this band of hot-wired Nashville maniacs adding a few more flavors to their usual gumbo of country, blues, rockabilly, and punk. Fiddles and horns add seasoning to a few tracks, the group musters up a shade more technical finesse than they did on their blasting debut,Cockadoodledon't, and the graceful waltz-time "The Pony to Bet On" suggests this band might actually have some subtlety lurking deep down inside of them. But for the most part Believe shows the Shack Shakers's instincts remain mercifully unchanged -- they're here to kick ass and get wild, and man oh man, are they good at it.
The blues-shot swagger of "All My Life to Kill," the ominous thunder of "Where's the Devil When You Need Him?," and the swampy hipshake of "Piss and Vinegar" all capture this band in high-impact mode, and if anything they're stronger and more swingin' than on their debut.Believe is a high-octane shot of energy and attitude that confirms the promise of the Legendary Shack Shakers' debut, and proves this is one revved-up live band who know how to make their sweat and shakin' signify on tape -- these guys are the best thing to happen to Dixie-fried dementia since Southern Culture on the Skids.