Change of pace for British blues stalwart. Intensity’s intact, though.
There’s a punchline to each of Mick Clarke‘s recent albums which, at a record per year rate of late, amount to a solid stretch of creativity. From its very title on, “Shake It Up” picks up the action where the finale of 2014’s "Crazy Blues" left off – only to land on the “Easy Blues” laziness, but every quiet passage over the course of this devil’s dozen pieces is contrasted with a disturbing stir of air. So while the cinematic pastiche “Cymbaline” may make it all a mirage, the tension that’s building here seems real.
Giving the sparse, serrated edge to “Danger Zone,” the guitarist’s one-man-band approach could be translated into a quest for authentic, but electric, sonic palette – a glance back at the times when his chosen genre implied roaming the land – if not for the full-on vibe of “Blues Start Walkin'” where Mick’s muscular twang gets a support from barrelhouse piano and a passionate vocal. Yet although Clarke’s roar has a menace to it on “Eat Yo Words” or the heavy “Every Confidence,” and the instruments stacked in “Farmyard Blues” produce a rock ‘n’ roll abandon, “Hymn To The Water Of Life” offers a peaceful uplift.
Still, the veteran is not content with it and shatters the calm time and time again: here’s the restlessness of soul – a fount of eternal youth. Saying that’s the last chapter of a trilogy, Mick Clarke promises to follow this album with a live one, to shake it up for the sake of solid easy action.