Sharks Come Cruisin'

A Past We Forget That We Need To Know

Written by: PP on 26/12/2011 00:24:46

All of you reading this review should know how the drunken sing alongs and Irish danceathons are like in songs by Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly, so I won't bother going into detail about those. But I will have to clarify that celtic folk punk isn't always about jolly rhythms and dusting off your dancing shoes, even though there is a tendency to think it is due to the huge popularity of the most successful bands within the genre. Sharks Come Cruisin', for example, offer a different look at the style, coming in with a less-happy, more yearning and sentimental angle on their new album "A Past We Forget That We Need To Know".

The ever-popular banjo, fiddle, and accordion are in the leading role here just like with Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphys, but they are used to create a bittersweet sound with a sense of nostalgia instead of the fast-paced, frantic clink-your-arms-and-dance type of tracks you're usually treated to when kick-starting parties or flooding the dance floor late at night. Tracks like "Shenandoah" and "Raise Up" are more akin to the end-of-night sing alongs after the bartender has rung the last orders bell, afer the metaphorical last ship has sailed, and it's time for everyone to go home. There are still group hollers, but the banjo rhythm is a gentle one, and the accordion and fiddle are used to add a calming effect rather than the opposite.

It's a suitable choice given the theme of Sharks Come Cruisin'. Many of the songs are about sailing, the sea, saying farewell to a town, ships, and pretty much everything associated with the sailor lifestyle including incredibly drunk nights at whatever pub happens to be closest at the port of arrival. The band even refers to their gang chants as 'crew' sing alongs. So by default, the songs are less of the Irish drink-up-and-dance sort, and more about a sadder occasion that still has to be celebrated with a pint or ten. And though the band does come close to the slower and less-bright Dropkick Murphys songs such as on "Four Years Before The Mast", the vast majority of time is spent in sluggish sailor songs like "Wayward Boys" and "Farewell To Nova Scotia".

The question you might ask can it be as good as the happy-go-lucky sing alongs you get on any given Flogging Molly album? The answer is a resounding yes. Not only is their approach a refreshing look at an increasingly saturated style, but they manage to do it without abandoning the infectious sing alongs and catchy melodies usually associated with the style. Perhaps Irish folk punk is an incorrect tag, because Sharks Come Cruisin' are very clearly playing something else here, which could be referred to, for example, 'sailor folk' or 'sailor punk' instead.


Download: Wayward Boys, Farewell To Nova Scotia, Four Years Before The Mast
For the fans of: Dropkick Murphys, The Pogues, The Mahones
Listen: Facebook

Release date 08.03.2011

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