Sharks – The Joys Of Living 2008-2010


Artist

Album

The Joys Of Living 2008-2010

Label

Rise Records / Velvet Scene

Year

2011

Genre

For Fans Of

The Clash - The Buzzcocks - The Smiths

Summary

Classic English punk reworked for a new century.

Rating

89 / 100

Hailing from an unknown town called Leamington Spa near Birmingham in the UK, relative newcomers Sharks have had their share of joys in the past few years. Having caught the attention of bands like Gallows and The Gaslight Anthem with just two EP releases, and recently snagging a spot on the Rise Records roster, they’ve already shown themselves to be a pretty impressive bunch of lads. “The Joys of Living” features all of Sharks’ material that has been released thus far including their two EPs “Shallow Waters” and “Show Of Hands”, their single “Common Grounds”, as well as two brand new tracks. Put simply, Sharks offer some good-old, heartfelt rock n’ roll with an catchy punk edge. The rough-around-the-edges recording definitely adds a vintage charm to a sound which is largely influenced by old school rock music, specifically 1980s punk and post-punk. Frontman James Mattock’s voice is hugely reminiscent of The Clash’s Joe Strummer, adding a particular element of nostalgia. The guitar hooks tend to be simple and jangly, like The Clash or The Smiths, while the lyrics are arousing and insightful.

The two brand new tracks, which open up the record, showcase Sharks’ talents well. “Sweet Harness” has a certain Gaslight Anthem feel to it, featuring some rich, bluesy rock guitars and an epic chorus. The title track “The Joys of Living” displays this band’s penchant for doing things a little out of the ordinary. Furious drums and chaotic, indie guitars are accompanied by a harmonica part which would sound at home on a Bob Dylan song. The track at one point also incorporates an unexpected ska interlude, reflecting this band’s eclectic influences.

The first part of the release is Sharks’ “Show Of Hands” EP, which features some killer tracks. “Trains” has a catchy, driving chorus while “More Blue” and “Capital Youth” have some of their grittier riffs. The latter part of the release is their debut release “Shallow Waters”, which I feel is still their strongest material to date. “Yours To Fear”, which opened that record, is a totally anthemic number. It opens with a spine-tingling chorus of voices, a great piano melody and some big drums which evolve into a cracker of a tune. “Fallen On Deaf Ears” and “It Threatens” are amongst their more upbeat and fast offerings, and “Bury Your Youth” boasts some chaotically intricate guitar picking which are akin to riffs from the likes of Foals. The closer “The Light at the End of the Tunnel” nicely sums up Sharks’ angsty, nihilistic punk manifesto (in an oh-so-catchy way) – “Nothing for us to do but keep on digging this hole for ourselves, until our very souls will burn deep beyond the gates of no return.”

Conclusion

This record is an excellent compilation effort which tracks Sharks’ impressive discography, and is a sound precursor to a studio album. If “The Joys Of Living” is anything to go by, Sharks are definitely a band to look out for in 2011.

Tracklisting

1. Sweet Harness
2. The Joys of Living
3. Trains
4. It All Relates
5. Three Houses
6. More Blue
7. Glove In Hand
8. Capital Youth
9. Common Grounds
10. Yours To Fear
11. Fallen On Deaf Ears
12. It Threatens
13. Bury Your Youth
14. The Light at the End of the Tunnel is Hell

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