Great Rock Albums of 1986: Kim Mitchell- Shakin’ Like a Human Being


One term bandied about in 1986 and I’ve used it on the blog on two occasions recently is ‘sell out.’ Some people back then were quick to but such a brand on Kim Mitchell when the first single from the “Shakin’ Like a Human Being” album, “Patio Lanterns,” made its radio debut. The song was more of a ballad and after hearing his great “Go for Soda” from the previous “Akimbo Alogo” album, some misguided individuals might be inclined to think that. However, I was never misguided and I knew that there was more to this album than what was playing on the radio.

Don’t get me wrong, “Patio Lanterns” isn’t some synth pop, let’s try to be Duran Duran type of song. It’s a decent ballad and though it’s not my favourite track on the album, it’s still more than half decent. It was just the fact that in 1986, power chords meant the world to me. For me, the first two tracks on the album are the best. Both are great rockers, reminding me a little of classic 70s hard rock. There are great power chords and cool guitar solos on both tracks but I do prefer “Get Lucky (Boys and Girls)” slightly more than “In My Shoes” but only slightly.

A second ballad to adorn the album is “Alana Loves Me.” This has me thinking a little back to the days of the Little River Band. It sounds like 1970s light rock but with far better guitar solos, which there are several on the song.

Following the two ballads, Kim seems to go into several different directions, a dangerous thing in a time when people were beginning to put music into pigeon holes, but with the good songs, he definitely pulls it off. Though with the first ballad-succeeding track, “That’s the Hold,” you might be inclined to think he’s going back to being totally hard rock. After all, this song does cook. Then, “In Your Arms” is another ballad, more like “Alana Loves Me” in mood but it does have a cool guitar solo and interesting sounds on the keyboards. It’s “City Girl” where things go a bit different. It is a faster song and it does make me think that if it were more guitar driven than keyboards, it would be great. Still, it’s a pretty good song, especially the way the guitar solo trades off with the keyboards in the middle. “Easy to Tame” has a country feel to it and with this song, that’s not a bad thing. Even his guitar solo sounds right out of Nashville but there’s a very strong bass line from bassist Robert Sinclair Wilson.

One song I can’t fathom is “Cameo Spirit.” Maybe it sounds a little too 80s pop but it is also a little catchy. Kim really stretches way out here to the point that even the biggest ‘let’s pigeonhole everything’ type person would have difficulty putting this one in a box. Maybe that was Kim’s objective. Keyboards also dominate the closer, “Hitting the Ground” but there’s another solid bass performance from Wilson on it. Then about a minute in, Kim’s and Peter Fredette’s guitars come in and then Kim adds his own lead guitar magic to it so by the time the song and the album ends, you know that Kim has made a very good album.

Track Listing:

  1. Get Lucky (Boys and Girls)
  2. In My Shoes
  3. Alana Loves Me
  4. Patio Lanterns
  5. That’s the Hold
  6. In Your Arms
  7. City Girl
  8. Easy to Tame
  9. Cameo Spirit
  10. Hitting the Ground


Kim Mitchell- lead guitar, vocals

Peter Fredette- rhythm guitar, keyboards, vocals

Robert Sinclair Wilson- bass, keyboards, vocals

Paul Delong- drums

Pye Dubois- lyrics

I don’t think “Patio Lanterns” even charted in the US, though it did receive a fair amount of radio air play. But who cares about singles charts when Kim Mitchell comes out with another consistently good album.

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8 Responses to “Great Rock Albums of 1986: Kim Mitchell- Shakin’ Like a Human Being”

  1. City Girl still throws me for a loop. I can dig Cameo Spirit now, but I’ll never understand City Girl for the life of me.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Great writeup. I was fortunate enough to catch this tour when Kim brought his show to Thunder Bay. Patio Lanterns were strewn across the stage as you might guess.

    That summer of 1986 was when Kim came to town so I had this in my walkman constant that summer! But over time I went back to Akimbo and the debut 5 song E,P and kind of left this one be.

    But 2 years ago I scooped this on vinyl for cheap and it was a great revisit with an old friend. haha Some great stuff on here but as you and Mikey said some out there stuff but still a pretty damn for album.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Outside of Soda, I don’t think I can name a Kim Mitchell song. He never really caught on in my neck of the woods. I do have a Max Webster album though.

    Liked by 1 person

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