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the unofficial forum for British punk rock band SHARKS (2007-13) & its successors (THE VIOLENT HEARTS, 2014- & THEIR LONELY BETTERS, 2014-)
 
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 Selfhood review by Eveything You Touch Turns to Hold

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PostSubject: Selfhood review by Eveything You Touch Turns to Hold   Thu Apr 18, 2013 5:19 pm

The More You Ignore Them, The Closer They Get…
SHARKS – SELFHOOD (RISE RECORDS, 2013)

So, it’s been a while since I wrote about the band who probably began my online writing presence – remember our brief flirtation with blog.web.co.uk or something? That was awful. Even so, writing about early SHARKS demos and shows around the midlands informed a lot of what I would go on to make and do at the end of my school years. And so, it’s with fond rose tinted glasses that I look upon this, the second full length release from Leamington Spa’s best export since Satanism. Pertinent indeed perhaps that Aleister Crowley believed he had been entrusted with informing humanity that we were entering the Aeon of Horus – an era accompanied by self-realization and self-actualization. Both of these attributes can be found here by the bucket load, and SELFHOOD is a fantastic title for a not-so-difficult second album.

First full length, NO GODS, appeared around this time last year, after months and months of demo-ing, recording, touring, promoting etc etc. Paint a vulgar picture indeed. Did it perhaps suffer from this relentless process? Certainly the strength of song writing had carried over from early ep’s and singles, but in part the strain could be heard. A completely different approach here has revealed wildly different results (although not in the tone of the record I hastily add). Much like their US compatriots, Title Fight, the announcement for this second album came almost out of nowhere – little build up, just the right amount of press exposure, and a natural recording process (live on tape) has done the band a world of good. Here, the guitars sound warmer, the vocals rich in the mix, and the rhythm section keeps the whole thing rolling along with a razor pace. These 11 songs were purportedly written just before going in to the studio, which is testament to the skill of Andrew Bayliss and James Mattock (not forgetting you Sam and Carl), as the melodies in part are as good as anything they’ve ever done.

The title track bursts in with the style of Fallen On Deaf Ears, but segways via acoustic strumming in to the slower, more introspective Your Bloody Wings – and from then on, the growth that has taken place shines through. The influences here are less ’77 and more ’82, the harsh buzz of earlier work replaced with a warm jangle. Previously released online, “Portland” finds the band at their most upbeat, and what I assume will close side A of the physical release “The More You Ask Me, The Less I’m Sure” (Morrissey title in waiting) is fantastic – rockabilly guitars and all. Later in the record, things slow further – the excellent “Pale” sounds like the soundtrack of a lost David Lynch film, and album closer “My Wild One” is about as close to ballad material as the band have ever touched on – lullaby guitars coupled with “my body’s such an anchor, when it’s wasted not being beside ya” make for a different experience to that Sharks have been throwing around for the last few years, but it works. Second albums are notoriously tough – hey, even Moz had Kill Uncle – but if anything, they offer room for self-exploration, self-realization (thanks Crowley) and indeed, selfhood. One can only imagine that these songs will sound better still in the close confines of next months UK headline tour – head out to a date (there’s a bunch), pick up a record and enjoy good British guitar music once again, because when it’s this endearing, you’d be a sucker to miss it.

Words to your mother – LM.

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