This is what happens when rock music meets a carnivorous enthusiasm for animal husbandry--and it's surprising how enjoyable the combination is. In the Shadow of the Valley of the Shanks is the latest release from the two-musician/sheep-farmer band that is the Shanks. The creators may butcher sheep in a small town somewhere near Toronto, but they don't butcher music.
The album has six tracks, all consisting of three elements; one voice, one bass guitar and one set of drums, best listened to at 120 decibels. The resulting feel is deep, hard driving rock that carries the listener along with a dark but captivating style. Intriguing lyrics, addictive baselines, and spot-on drumming make this a short but friggin' sweet underdog of a disc, where the biggest flaw is its brevity, since every song clocks in under four minutes.
While the music is enjoyable, the Shanks don't really innovate in terms of their overall sound and song structure. They fit nicely into the genre of modern rock, and don't break much new ground there. Their more than capable execution and catchy riffs, however, are what make this album absolutely worth listening to. Just too bad it doesn't last long.