Copping a stylistic aesthetic is one thing. Fully embodying the best qualities of said style with an ease and competency rarely heard outside the real thing is another entirely. Where countless groups seek to replicate a specific era of pop music through derivative genre pastiches, the members of Shannon & The Clams somehow manage to sound as though they’ve been transported from rock-and-roll’s raw and wild early days into the 21st century to help remind listeners of the boundary-pushing early days of one of the 20th century’s greatest art forms.

Sounding like the aural equivalent of an early John Waters film, Shannon & The Clams manage to not only perfectly replicate the sound of early rock-and-roll, they go beyond mere role-playing and embody the feel of the era through both their arrangements, instrumentation and note-perfect production from fellow time traveler, Sonny Smith. Encapsulating doo-wop, girl group sounds, surf and period-correct esoterica (check out the Joe Meek-esque keyboards on opener “I Will Miss the Jasmine” and the title track), their latest release, Gone By The Dawn transcends mere genre exercise, proving Shannon & The Clams to be the real deal.

Not that there should have been any doubt, of course, given the quality of not only their previous releases, but also the pedigree of the band’s members. When not fronting the Clams, bassist/vocalist Shannon Shaw spends her time as a member of the equally debauched throwback group Hunx & His Punx. Coupled with guitarist Cody Blanchard, easily one of the best soul-shouters currently prowling the grimy rock underworld (just check out “My Man” for conclusive evidence of this), they prove an unstoppable force of retro rock that could easily pass for lost classics from the genre’s formative years.

What sets Shannon & The Clams apart from the pack of retro-rockers is their reverence and deep understanding of the style itself. Far from being a fashion statement, their approach is more that of a lifestyle, something they live and breath on a daily basis. It’s through this complete and total immersion that they manage to come off as the real thing. Of course, it helps to have a baker’s dozen of killer tunes to back of their stylistic claims.

“Telling Myself” is a lost garage rock classic that would have been the highlight of any of the Pebbles compilations, perhaps even making it all the way to the big time on Nuggets. Similarly, “I Will Miss the Jasmine” is the best bizzaro girl group number recorded in years, one that apes the sound and feel yet decides to undercut it with enough Joe Meek-style weirdness to become something above and beyond that of their peers.

Far from being a front-loaded release, the album’s back half proves as strong, if not stronger, than the impressive opening lineup of “I Will Miss the Jasmine”/”My Man”/”Point Of Being Right”/”How Long?”, the latter one being of the best songs Roy Orbison never got around to recording. Faltering only slightly on the too-weird-for-its-own-good B-movie narrative of “The Bog,” Gone By The Dawn closes with the ferocious trio of “Knock ‘em Dead,” ”The Burl” and “You Let Me Rust.” By sticking with quality material throughout, they manage a feat almost unheard of when it comes to their spiritual predecessors: an album that can be listened to all the way through and isn’t built to support a couple of top-notch singles.

Gloriously sloppy and unpolished, Gone By The Dawn is a messy throwback to the dawn of an era in which anyone with a guitar and a few lyrics could put out a record. It’s within this magnificently irreverent spirit of creation and dirty rocking out that Shannon & The Clams are at their best. With this, Gone By The Dawn is a triumph and the best the ‘60s has to offer in the ‘10s.

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