Monday, June 1, 2009

review: Shark Speed--Sea Sick Music

Shark Speed
Sea Sick Music

Either Provo, Utah is way behind or way up on the next curve, as this is a throwback to what late 90s emo showed us. In that regard, Shark Speed is completely on target as that stuff is/was completely better than any emo-tagged Facebook message might lead you to believe. That isn’t completely fair, because Shark Speed also borrows heavily from Minus The Bear. Again, that’s absolutely one of the best influences to have—their technical guitar work and clever lyrics should inspire more than it has. Fortunately, Shark Speed takes the best of those and does an admirable job adding their own spin, dance spin specifically. Instead of totally mucking up an emo-dance album (see Brandtson’s Hello Control), Shark Speed picks a few more dance beats than Minus the Bear while maintaining a sense of their fantastic rhythm section, with bass lines that mean something and keys that add the appropriate touch, rather than any over-the-top emotionality. There’s also the tricky horn that Shark Speed utilizes to maximum, rather than gimmicky effect.
The opener “Cast Off Dance Off” begins with a drowsy intro of the horn before the guitar picks up on the right math rock melody. The lyrics are nothing to shrug at either, with a nice narrative about stretching a tin can phone line across the yard, asking if the person on the other side and taking a fall. There’s nothing sappy here, just snappiness as the bridge knocks out a killer dance beat and the dash of the horns fit well. The tempo is picked up further with “I’m a Machine” and “Freddy” establishes three exceptional opening tracks. The rest of the album kind of falls into their mesmerizing sameness with nothing much going wrong. These days that is the highest of high compliments. But for those that were or want to be intrigued by Braid, Jealous Sound or Minus The Bear, Shark Speed is an excellent addition and tribute to those bands—with enough seeds to establish something very unique on their own. An excellent album.

MP3: Shark Speed-"Cast Off Dance Off"

MP3: Shark Speed-"Battle Born"

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