Sharks - No Gods (2012)
Up until now, the majority of the albums that I have reviewed have ranged in age from a few years old, to decades. Usually, the albums that grab me and hold tight do so over a certain amount of time and dozens of listens. This year, however, Sharks did just that and in half the time it would normally take.
Pre-2003 and all of the way through the mid 2000s, I was a pop-punk and hardcore kid. Really the first band that introduced me to the whole underground subculture was New Found Glory when I was in 7th grade. From that point, it was first the Drive-Thru Records roster that I came to love before adding in Vagrant and Equal Vision Records into the fold. I wanted my music loud, fast, and aggressive. It was around my freshman year of college that I discovered Radiohead, whom I had heard of through my friend Ian’s older sister, and truthfully it wasn’t until the last few years that I truly came to appreciate them, but at that time, my tastes were evolving. By the time I was out of college and working, I barely listened to anything more than folk and indie rock, and not much has changed in the few years since.
There have been a few bands that have grabbed my attention in the last year or so that would be considered pop-punk or punk influenced. One is The Gaslight Anthem which is what I would consider our generation’s Bruce Springsteen, and the other is Sharks.
Originally formed in 2007 in England, Sharks are the second band to be reviewed by me (the first being The Early November) that are on Rise Records (which I didn’t expect would happen). Sure they are pop-punk, or more appropriately pop-oriented punk (there is a very distinct difference), but I would say that for a band as young as they are, they have more potential and talent in the songwriting arena than most their age. The songs found on No Gods are catchy, the hooks are huge, and the sing-along moments are aplenty.
Some of my favorite moments on the album are when the band builds and crescendos into a frenzy, only to break into a wild and very technically proficient guitar solo (see, “‘Till The Wonders Arise” and “Matthew’s Baby”), though some of the more fist-shaking sing-along moments are found on tracks like “Arcane Effigies” and “What Entails?”.
For me, No Gods is an album that I immediately wanted to go and purchase on vinyl as soon as I heard the first single, which is saying quite a bit. Sharks is a band that I am very interested to watch as they grow and mature as songwriters. I imagine (and hope) that as they get older and put a couple of thousand miles on their van that they will only get better.
Sounds like: Make Do and Mend, The Gaslight Anthem, and The Clash.