Following on from their self-titled debut, released back in 2009, ver three-piece Shark prepare to issue their sophomore album, having prefaced it with the Body Mass Index EP towards the end last year.
For my money, the two tracks from that EP that reappear here (‘Body Mass Index’ and ‘Overpriced’) are the strongest here, though I’ve got a soft spot for album opener ‘SPMG’ too. Rather like fellow Scots We Are The Physics, there’s a quirkiness to these two lads and lass, and an admirable sense of not taking themselves too seriously.
Several listens in, I have to say that I would be lying if I said that I was in love with the whole album. But there are some excellent tracks on offer here, and there are far worse ways of spending thirty-five minutes.
The Road To Ugly is released by Armellodie on January 28.
Packing a mighty punch, Cuddly Shark follow-up their critically acclaimed singles with this wonderful debut album. Describing themselves as hillbilly rockers, the Glasgow-based three-piece have more in common with the likes of Le Reno Amps and Elvis Suicide than, say, the twee indie with which the city is still associated with. They also list Shellac as an influence, which I definitely hear as well. Yet it’s not about where their influences are from, it’s where they’re going that make this debut such a thrilling, exciting listen.
Right from the opening track ‘Bowl Of Cherries’ the album makes a powerful impression, as does their sense of humour. One track, entitled ‘Jamie Foxx on Later With Jools Holland’ is fifty seconds long and states simply ‘I heard you sing the worst song I ever heard.’ On Woody Woodpecker’ they casually breeze through more ideas in less than two muinutes than some bands do in an entire career.
It’s not all balls out rock’n’ roll (though see if you can spot the Led-Zep baiting though!), ‘Whiteoaks’ is more wistful and acoustic yet still showcases a sound and song that is uniquely their own. And having given the album a blast through, you already find that you can’t cut it down to one or two highlights. They may have fled the bright lights of Elgin (as referred to in ‘The Punisher of IV30’) but this band are truly one of the most exciting bands in Scotland right now.
**** Cuddly Shark is out now on Armellodie Records.
Cuddly Shark will be playing the following live dates:
TODAY (Monday November 16) – Captain’s Rest, Glasgow (With The Elvis Suicide); Saturday December 5 -Dirty Martini’s, Kilmarnock; Thursday 21st January – Nice N Sleazys, Glasgow; Friday 22nd January – Hootenannys, Inverness; Saturday 23rd January – Drummonds, Aberdeen; Sunday 24th January – Sneaky Petes, Edinburgh.
This is the video for Woody Woodpecker
Oh, and the first ten tracks of the album are on the myspace page.