It's clear from the first bar of “Devil in Me,” that Max Fite's new album "Shake It On Down" is full of heavy, infectious riffs—and then when the vocals come in, it's equally obvious that the vocals are as polished and hook-laden as the guitars. Near the end of the track, it's also clear that the band draws from a variety of influences when an early Weezer-style lead guitar takes the song in an unexpected, but pleasant direction before coming back to the chorus.
The third track, “Court Jester,” starts with a bluesy, Jack White-esque intro before launching into a verse that is more reminiscent of Queens of the Stone Age. Whether it is producer Jaron Luksa who helped draw together these various influences into Max Fite's sound, or whether it is just the band's natural inclination, it makes for interesting listening. Just when it seems like a song is heading in a certain direction, there enters an unexpected tone, or, like at the end of “Court Jester,” an unexpected tempo change. A song that starts off like simple blues rock ends up sounding like something from a Tony Hawk Pro Skater soundtrack.
“My Own Fantasy” is probably the most autobiographical track, telling the story of a guy who wakes up “shocked that I'm in one piece.” This is a song about insecurities, self-doubt, and, as the band repeats at the end, “living in my own little world/my own fantasy.”
The last track of the album, “Time to Heal,” is probably the most heartfelt piece on the album, and the softest too—with a simple drum, acoustic guitar, and lead riff intro, it sets the stage for the emotional story that unfolds. The song is about the death of a loved one. The chorus is a vulnerable cry for “time to heal.” It's a song that almost anyone can relate to, but even if you haven't experienced a similar situation, Max Fite delivers the message clearly and effectively.
Each track on "Shake It On Down" offers a slightly different side of Max Fite, a band whose talents are apparent throughout the entire 22-minute release.