Shakra – Back On Track (AFM Records)

Friday, 22nd March 2013
Rating: 7/10

Sucker for a good hook we are at Blistering, and even though the bulk of Shakra’s Back On Track is as dated as a Dodge Pinto, there’s something to be said for a band that knows how to get down to the core of good songwriting. On the aptly-titled Back On Track (the band has new singer – John Prakesh, hence the title), the Switzerland-based melodic rockers have fun with no-frills 80’s metal, and in the process, manage to not stumble over themselves. Consider that a success.

Song titles “B True B You,” “Crazy” and “Lonesomeness” don’t register high on the cerebral scale, but it’s a bit irrelevant when Prakesh is shouting out AC/DC-styled vocals that have the necessary amount of balls to them. His chorus choices are predictable, but awfully effective – just reference the catchy “I’ll Be” and “MMTWGR,” which if our calculations are correct, stands for “Money Makes the World Go ‘Round.” Either way, it’s a fun song that would be all over MTV if this were 1989. Time machine, anyone?

“When I See You” is the necessary ballad on the album (it’s as syrupy as Mrs. Butterworth), while the hard-rocking and anthem-like “Eternity” and dark “Unspoken Truth” emerge as additional cuts of note. Through it all, Shakra manage to keep things interesting and just a smidge from the line of total cheesiness, but hey, they’re Swiss – this stuff is a hit over there.

Shakra (not “Shakira,” although she’s pretty bangin’) get away scot-free with the cliché-addled Back On Track. It’s the type of stuff the Euros lap up, but in North America, metal such as this couldn’t be more un-hip, which in turn, makes Shakra hip. And these hips don’t lie.

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