SHARK SANDWICH – Fast Album Reviews for Those on the Go
March 16, 2018 – Vol. 70
Music reviews come in all sizes, but you’re busy and do not have time for flowery language… or sentences, really.
Spinal Tap gave the world the greatest album review of all time:
Welcome to our “Shark Sandwich” — razor-sharp reviews that sum up an album in five sentences or less.
Hot Snakes – Jericho Sirens
Stripped down, pedal to the metal, and breathless, Hot Snakes deliver the perfect soundtrack to a murder. Is it good? Shit, you know it is. The riffs are wound tighter than the devil’s own piano wire, the vocals are unhinged, and the overall effect is that of a time machine erasing the past 18 years or so. Remember how much cooler you were eighteen years ago? Hot Snakes remember.
Rating: 4 out of 5 whistles
Best Song: “Death Doula”
Earthless – Black Heaven
Continuing the game of “six degrees of Rocket from the Crypt,” stoner rock power titans, Earthless, features Mario Rubalcaba on drums, and he played drums with John “Speedo” Reis in RFTC (Reis is also a founder of Hot Snakes – Psst, look up). Earthless isn’t like RFTC, or Hot Snakes for that matter. Their long, largely instrumental songs sound like a SoCal skateboarding competition from the early 70s. It smells like ditch weed, and squeals like a custom van. You never grow out of thick, hypnotic Black Sabbath meets the Allman Brothers jams, trust me.
Rating: 3.75 out of 5 whistles
Best Song: “Electric Flame”
Meshell Ndegeocello – Ventriloquism
Endlessly inventive in her approach to these eleven covers, Meshell Ndegeocello just slays on the cheekily-titled Ventriloquism. There is so much to love here that it is embarrassing to live in a world in which Ndegeocello isn’t an enormous star. Her interpretations of Prince, TLC, Tina Turner, Janet Jackson, etc., are mostly slowed down, quietly cerebral affairs like easing into a bathtub that you just know was used in a suicide at some point in the past. Listening to her breathy version of “Private Dancer” is a sort of intense experience, which is just as it should be.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 whistles
Best Song: “Private Dancer”
JB Dunckel – H+
One half of French electronica giants, Air, JB Dunckel is songwriting powerhouse all by himself. This is expansive, cinematic pop that simply paralyzes you with its strange beauty. It legit sounds from the future, and it gets under your skin. The thudding lullaby “Transhumanity” belongs in a sci-fi, near-future bar scene in a believable way that illustrates just how hard it is to pull something like that off. I think that for all the great tracks on H+, it is “Love Machine” that is most likely to worm its way into your dreams tonight.
Rating: All the whistles
Best Song: “Love Machine”
The Magic Gang – The Magic Gang
You’re going to feel great bopping along to the Magic Gang. There is something distinctly 90s sounding in the mix of Weezer, Beach Boys, Supergrass, Beaulah guitar based power pop, and it is going to hit the mark for folks of a certain age (thank you). If I had to pick a winner, it’s going to be “All This Way” for no other reason than the chorus reminds me of Spacehog’s “In the Meantime,” and there’s no shame in admitting such a thing. The Magic Gang sounds like it was made in a lab specifically to bring a smile to your face.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 whistles
Best Song: “All This Way”
Lead-In Image – Composite
- Album and sleeve – Courtesy of imagefactory / Shutterstock.com
- Main album cover – Courtesy of Blablo101 / Shutterstock.com
- Album collage – Earthless – Nuclear Blast Entertainment; Hot Snakes – Sub Pop; JB Dunckel – Jive Epic; Meshell Ndegeocello – Naive; and The Magic Gang – Warner Bros.