29 April 2013
by Alex Andrews
Something that doesn’t add up about Sharks is how publications like this very website – usually concerned with the heavier end of the musical spectrum – have come to write about them. Support slots with Gallows, Fucked Up and erm, Lostprophets have seen the band cast by certain sections of the media as the fresh-faced saviours of punk’s true spirit, while they’ve gone on peddling something closer to the radio-ready mod revival spearheaded by bands like the Ordinary Boys (remember them?) at the turn of the millennium.
If you found yourself hoping for Sharks to return to some of their early form after last year’s No Gods, then you best brace yourself for further disappointment. On Selfhood, the band’s second full-length, singer James Mattock is still more Morrissey than Strummer, the reverb-y lead guitar parts sound bloated and outdated, and all in all, the album is just as tepid – if not more so – as its predecessor.
To give Sharks credit, both ‘Portland’ and ‘Gold’ are catchy in a wistful kind of way, and ‘My Wild One’ – the album’s closer and token slow dance moment – leaves a stronger impression as it gradually builds its way to a crescendo. What’s interesting about Sharks is that though still very young, they often break the standard pop-punk and indie-rock templates to channel wider and more vintage influences, like on the surfy ‘Pale.’ In fact, all of the songs on Selfhood are so innocuously melodic, you could hear any one of them purring their way out of the Radio One towers in the middle of the day.
Listen to ‘Sunday’s Hand’ by Sharks:
With British bands like Apologies, I Have None and Gnarwolves emerging with a similarly straight-up – albeit more modern and brattier – approach in the past year, there was scope for Sharks to release something that really got people to sit-up and listen. The difference is that where Gnarwolves have amassed the kind of following across to the UK that has led to youths permanently inking their skin, the urgency and conviction that’s so desperately lacking from Selfhood makes it almost impossible to imagine it sound-tracking anything more than a lazy afternoon.
Sounds Like: The Vaccines, The Ordinary Boys
Standout Tracks: Portland, Gold, My Wild One