On their final album, these UK rockers continue maturing their melodic indie rock sound.
Released Apr. 29th on Rise Records
When I reviewed Sharks’ first full-length, No Gods, last year, they were already recording a follow-up, one that I hoped would distinguish itself more and maybe bring back some of the punk attitude of their early EPs. I also hoped they’d be able to hang onto a steady bassist. No luck there; the bass position has pretty much been a revolving door in this band, with newcomer Carl Murrihy filling the role on Selfhood. While it’s a better record than No Gods, it moves even further away from their Clash influences. It’s an indie rock record, but more assured and better crafted than its predecessor.
Standout tracks include “Your Bloody Wings”, a raucous number with some sparkling guitar lines, and the rousing “The More You Ask Me, the Less I’m Sure”, in which Andrew Bayliss drops a Batman reference: “When I die, wish me hell / So I can dance in the dark with the devil in the pale moonlight”. “Sunday’s Hand” shows off his improved singing voice on lines like “I only want the right one to slide into action / As badly as the knife wants to slide inside”. Less impactful are “Portland”, whose “la la la” chorus doesn’t really go anywhere, and “I Won’t Taint”, which tries to build things up but comes off meandering. The album’s second half has some energetic rockers (“22”, “Gold”) and a couple slow burners (“Pale”, “My Wild One”).
Selfhood improves upon the indie and classic rock direction of No Gods, sounding more nuanced and energetic. It’s too bad it’s the band’s final record; they abruptly split up just 2 months after its release, leaving behind 2 full-length studio albums, 3 EPs, and a handful of singles. While the albums are fairly good, I recommend The Joys of Living 2008–2010, a collection of their early EPs, as their best stuff.