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Album Review: Sharks - No Gods

There are no truly original bands anymore. At least that’s what some would have you believe, while pointing to bands that do a great job of aping their heroes as evidence. This is undoubtedly an accusation that was leveled at Sharks for a while, seeing as much of their early material was very Clash-lite. However, things may well change with the release of "No Gods", the band’s debut full length, which sees the band stepping out into new territory.

It’s clear from the outset that the band's touring experience and exposure to so many established bands (having supported everyone from Gallows to The Gaslight Anthem), has had a positive effect on their approach to making music. "Til The Wonders Rise" is a brilliant little opening number that immediately demonstrates that the band have stepped away from their punk sound of old; the tone of the guitar is much more polished, and frontman James Mattock’s vocal delivery is much less abrasive. In fact Sharks seem very much to be taking a leaf out of Gaslight Anthem’s book, smoothing off the Clash Worship in order to reach a wider audience, and on the whole it works.

Lead single "Arcane Effigies" is one of many tracks that could easily be picked up by mainstream radio; with its main hook of “Hey Rudie, Rudie” oozing catchiness and giving a subtle nod to the last gang in town. The band manage to blend Green Day with Oasis on track "On A Clear Day You Can See Yourself" which has the stomp and chorus straight off of "Warning" and the melody of "What’s The Story…". There is also a certain element of versatility displayed throughout "No Gods". The use of horns on standout track "Patient Spider" is ingenious and works seamlessly; and "Turn To You" has a distinct fifties rock n' roll flavor to it.

"No Gods" isn’t quite perfect, it lacks the natural pop sensibilities to be a truly huge crossover success, however there is enough on offer to draw new fans in. Sharks' old sound was too predictable and copycat, and while some hardcore fans will bemoan a loss of energy and rawness, the truth is the band have gained a sense of individuality and identity.


"No Gods" is out now through Rise Records

Dan Issitt

Alter The Press!