Shannon and the Clams fifth studio album, Onion, produced by The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, is an example of all the things that make them brilliant. With much of the record’s themes coming in the wake of the Oakland Ghost Ship warehouse fire last December, it takes on themes of origin, identity, and introspection. Understandably, the disaster had a profound impact on the band, and the record reflects on the importance of local underground scenes, like the one from which the band came.
It means Onion is a record of crooning, grooving and heartbreak, their sound incorporating doo-wop, classic R&B, garage psych, and surf. In “The Boy”, frontwoman Shannon Shaw croons and rails about toxic masculinity over a sparkling, hook-laden riff: it’s a classic Clams tune – and there are so many of those.