shark sandwich 65

New Album Reviews – Simple Minds, DZ Deathrays, and more!

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SHARK SANDWICH – Fast Album Reviews for Those on the Go

February 2, 2018 – Vol. 65

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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:

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Welcome to our “Shark Sandwich” — razor-sharp reviews that sum up an album in five sentences or less.

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Simple Minds – Walk Between Worlds

Are Simple Minds a product of the 80s, or has today simply rushed up to shake hands with the past, making them musical time travelers? Up to you, reader, but know that Walk Between Worlds is a deeply satisfying concoction of orchestrated chamber pop that, yes, “sounds 80s,” only better. The album is set up as two distinct sides with the first half dance stepping the way you remember, and the second half being the more “cinematic” side. Honestly, while the split is there, it isn’t a jarring changeup. This is music made by supremely, and rightly, confident musicians who know where they come from, and want to take it with them to where they are heading.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 whistles

Best Song: “The Signal and the Noise”

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Pearl Charles – Sleepless Dreamer

Pearl Charles sounds like your parents’ radio. She has the halo of AM pop, and dusty soul like what they played once they stopped trying to keep up with the musical trends. It’s Americana and singer-songwriter material with any edges sanded off, and in their place are sweeping vistas and nostalgia. It’s a trade off, yes, but one that is necessary and totally works on Sleepless Dreamer. This is twilight music, for, and by, summertime evenings as the buzz starts to get real and the shadows get long.

Rating: 4 out of 5 whistles

Best Song: “Behind Closed Doors”

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Hookworms – Microshift

Is this the sound of krautrock played by U2 (didn’t they do that themselves in the mid 90s?)? Possibly, and I wasn’t sold on it by Hookworms’ opening track, “Negative Space,” as it felt gimmicky, but by “Static Resistance” I got it. The album unfolds itself, maintaining its “krautiness,” but showing Flaming Lips and Simple Minds (ahem) influences in addition to the anthemic U2. It’s definitely catchy, if a little knowingly out-there, but still a fun listen.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 whistles

Best Song: “Boxing Day”

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James Hunter Six – Whatever it Takes

Where has James Hunter been your whole life? Studying, practicing, gigging, and perfecting his analog blue-eyed soul, Hunter has it down. Whatever it Takes wasn’t recorded with computers. It was recorded with microphones in front of amplifiers, and there is authenticity in every organ roll and every horn freakout. This R & B is a mystified nightclub, with a bouncer that will let you in with a smile and a wink as long as your head still bobs.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 whistles

Best Song: “Don’t Let Pride Take You For a Ride”

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DZ Deathrays – Bloody Lovely

DZ Deathrays came here to party, Black Sabbath style. Bloody Lovely was so perfectly crafted for car listening that I am not convinced the album wasn’t actually recorded in one going 90 MPH along the beach. DZ Deathrays is sounds vaguely evil, but it is a well-lit kind of evil that speaks of bad decisions at poorly-managed dinner parties instead of animal sacrifice. There is definite glamminess at work in between the chunky guitar riffing that serves to enhance the controlled chaos of listening to album. In your car, always in your car.

Rating: 4 out of 5 whistles

Best Song: “Afterglow”

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All artists are available on iTunesAmazonGooglePlay, and wherever else better music is sold, streamed, downloaded, or performed on tour.

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NewsWhistle music contributor Chad Werner is “ahead of the curve, behind the times.” You can contact this rock n’ roll sphinx at chad@newswhistle.com (e-mail) or @scooternotmoped (Twitter).

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Lead-In Image – Composite

  • Album and sleeve – Courtesy of  imagefactory / Shutterstock.com
  • Main album cover – Courtesy of Blablo101 / Shutterstock.com
  • Album collage – DZ Deathrays – I Oh You; Hookworms – Domino Recording Co.; James Hunter Six – Daptones Records; Simple Minds – BMG Rights Mgmt.; and Pearl Charles – Kanine Records.