The Joys Of Living 2008-2010

Written by: PP on 28/04/2011 05:18:59

Gaining some big time hype momentum right now are England's Sharks, whose meteoric rise to popularity has already landed them high-profile support slots for The Gaslight Anthem and Social Distortion around the world. They've accomplished that by releasing just two EPs, but as is commonplace in the UK, the media over there is already sensationalistic about the band as the second coming of Jesus by openly comparing them to bands like The Clash. That said, Sharks are a very good band, which their newly released full length "The Joys Of Living 2008-2010" demonstrates now for an international audience.

It is a 14 track compilation of all previously released material from the band plus two brand new songs, outlining it as an excellent introduction to the band and their sound for someone who has never listened to them before. So what do they sound like? The comparisons to The Clash are blown out of proportions, though hints from the classic punkers certainly do exist within their sound. A more effective parallel to draw would be to The Gaslight Anthem, as Sharks specialize in a similar, blue-collar rock as Gaslight does on their second and third album. Influences from Bruce Springsteen are aplenty, but whereas both of the aforementioned throw in a great deal of classic Americana to their mix, Sharks' sound is more laid back, instead borrowing elements from Midwestern and melodic punk scenes while slowing things down to a chilled out tempo. That said, they do integrate folksy things like harmonica to the mix, but the prevalent idea behind every Sharks song seems to be easily humm-a-longable, relaxing working class rock which assumes no privileges but yet charms its listener through its relative simplicity.

Here you might draw comparisons to The Cold Beat, American Steel and also Only Thieves, though these are merely references, because Sharks have successfully drawn up a sound that sounds very much like their own. You'll notice that especially on tracks like "Trains" or "More Blue", where the band crafts tunes that are best described as enjoyable. The melodies don't jump out immediately to the listener rather than being content at just being good and holding a low-profile in the process. The two brand new songs on the record, "Sweet Harness" and "The Joys Of Living", do take a slightly more to-the-point route, however, taking plenty of lessons from The Gaslight Anthem on how to write mainstream rock/punk songs that still sound soulful and heartfelt. But since they are among the best tracks on the record, I'd say the future looks very bright for these English lads. I hear their debut full length is in the works, but while we're waiting for that, this compilation will give you a good idea of why Sharks are on many "bands to watch in 2011" lists at the moment.

Download: Trains, Sweet Harness, More Blue
For the fans of: The Gaslight Anthem, American Steel, Only Thieves, The Cold Beat, The Clash
Listen: Myspace

Release date 05.04.2011
Velvet Scene / Rise Records

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