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 great review of TJoL from 'Altertheaudience'

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PostSubject: great review of TJoL from 'Altertheaudience'   Sun Jun 19, 2011 8:34 am

great review of TJoL from 'Altertheaudience'

http://alerttheaudience.co.uk/post/6319337208/album-review-sharks-the-joys-of-living-2008-2010


Album review: Sharks - The Joys Of Living 2008-2010

“I need a release,” snarls Sharks vocalist James Mattock on the record’s third-to-last track It Threatens, and a release is exactly how The Joys of Living, a compilation of the band’s efforts over the past three years plus two new songs, could be described.

Since forming in 2007, this British punk rock band has been gaining attention in leaps and bounds, playing with the likes of Babyshambles, Gallows and Lostprophets. The Joys of Living, released with the intention of giving the United States a taste of the jangly guitar riffs and frenetic choruses that characterize the band’s music, even charted on the Billboard charts – albeit at number 97.

It’s been a steady path upwards for the young band, but, considering the strength of their music, there was arguably no other way. Opener Sweet Harness sets the stage for the punk rock massacre to follow, with a bright soaring guitar riff and a bridge with melancholic chords to pull all the right emotional strings. However, this is no generic three-chord punk band, with their versatility showcased during the harmonica harmonies in The Joys of Living, ska feel of Bury Your Youth, and even a piano-driven ballad moment in Yours to Fear.

The clever lyrics and relatable subject matter further ensure that, even at their softest moments, Sharks are far from sentimental. Bands like Fall Out Boy and Panic! at the Disco pride themselves on convoluted twists of the tongue and clever phrasing, and Sharks is right up there, arguably higher than most, with apparently the poetry of Charles Bukowski a major influence on Mattock’s writing. “And if I look too deep inside/I’ll just get afraid of what I may never find,” he laments in It Threatens, demonstrating that clever phrasing and unexpected twists on usual sayings can be both clever and meaningful.

In a capitalist world and culture that can often seem soulless and futile to break out of, the youth of today need a ‘Fight Club’ of sorts to work out their anger and aggression and feel real. This album of songs provides a potential location for that very event – the Sharks mosh pit. Themes of loneliness, bitterness and alienation are delivered masterfully with Mattock’s vocals, reminiscent of The Clash, and it is hard to fight back the urge to frenetically pogo to album-standouts Trains and Fallen on Deaf Ears. All the bitterness and unfairness of life is neatly packaged in a punk rock song that can be sung, as done in Glove in Hand, like an anthem to captivate the hearts of, and unite the disaffected youth that Britain today is seeing no shortage of.

This collection of songs is a unique modern translation of themes that have transcended all eras of punk rock, and it will be interesting to see if Sharks can expand on their versatility when they produce a full cohesive album.

8/10

Released on Velvet Scene/Rise Records on 9th April 2011.

Vicki Griffin
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