When Shake Some Action Vol. 4 returns us to the 'good 'ole U.S. of A., the wuss factor spikes. (Listen to David Finnerty's "Hold On", which threatens to blow away with a slight breeze, while the Monroe's manage to make such wussiness a virtue in "What Do All the People Know"). Then there's more post-Knack chart-grasping such as the Continentals, Four Eyes and, what is no doubt the worst song in the series, The Now's "I Like Girls". Despite all that softness, a couple of bands, like the Jumpers and The Penetrators, adopt a charming faux-punk sneer, while D.L Byron and Code Blue each add a ripping rocker. Attention must be paid to the Shades, "Hello Mr. Johnson", which slipped under my consciousness and exploded. Repeated listening revealed it's punk-rock Dylan-isms ("I was born premature - I'm still ahead of my time") that can match Elvis Costello's, it's weirdly wonderful bridge and the ratcheted up tension of that final chorus - "Hello Mr. Johnson - meet your audience". Most importantly, there's the Speedies who, with their deliriously snotty pop song, "Let Me Take Your Photo", proved (via its appearance in an HP ad) that so many of the songs herein really coulda been contenders.
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