SHARK SANDWICH – Fast Album Reviews for Those on the Go
June 23, 2017 – Vol. 44
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.
Candid Kid – Blush
Bright, bouncy, tight and tense, Candid Kid dances out of the starting gate confidently with “Snap” on their new EP Blush. Suffering a serious brain injury in 2015 after a car hit him, guitarist/vocalist Benjamin Muller didn’t take a knee or sit a round out. Instead, he and band simply roar on “Jeans,” and paint the sky on “Lit.” There are some out-there experimental moments, too, on this all too short EP. Think Cloud Cult having a baby with Sleater-Kinney.
Rating: 4 out of 5 whistles
Best Song: “Jeans”
Algiers – The Underside of Power
Algiers is not fucking around. Whether trafficking in Berlin-influenced industrial like on “Cry of the Martyrs,” or jagged spaced-out funk like on the terrific opener, “Walk Like a Panther,” the sweaty gospel and blues of the American South is never far from the surface. There is a lot to unpack with this band, and you should take the time to do so. This is some seriously intense music, and the vocals take everything to another level. If you don’t feel like marching in the streets halfway through The Underside of Power, you are definitely not hearing this album correctly.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 whistles
Best Song: “The Underside of Power”
UNKLE – The Road, Pt. 1
UNKLE has been around for some time. The group’s soundscapes in the 90s set the table for what became “trip hop,” and 2017 they serve up the dark, dense The Road, Pt. 1. Kill the lights, crank “No Where to Run/Bandits,” and ponder the way things are the way they are and make some plans to do something about it, dammit. Dance all by yourself to “Sunrise (Always Comes Around),” go to bed, wake up, and wonder if it was all a dream.
Rating: 4 out of 5 whistles
Best Song: “Looking for the Rain (feat. Mark Lanegan)”
Banditos – Visionland
Kitchen sink band, Banditos, knock the door down with “Fine Fine Day,” a rollicking garage stomper. Sometimes psychedelic, sometimes folk and honky tonk, the band is always rocking a soul undercurrent. It’s genre busting at a military-grade level. Visionland pairs perfectly with whiskey and dirty floors. Hot summer nights, dangerously dark bars, and Banditos for the win!
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 whistles
Best Song: “DDT”
Imagine Dragons – Evolve
Evolve is a bombastic 80s-centric electro groove album, the latest by the Vegas-in-band-form Imagine Dragons. I am not sure if I am supposed to dance to this album or rock out, but it certainly is loud. It is one anthem after another, and while well-crafted, it all gets a little same-y with the programmed marches and soft to yelling vocals. It’s a soaring album full of emotion, and it is effective in that regard. Imagine Dragons is reaching for the stadium rafters with Evolve, and it is likely they have succeeded.
Rating: 3 out of 5 whistles
Best Song: “Yesterday”
The Suburbs – Hey Muse!
Minneapolis dancepunk legends, the Suburbs, are celebrating their 40th anniversary with Hey Muse! and they aren’t acting their age. Full of tough, danceable grooves, and singer/keyboardist Chan Poling’s signature crooning, Hey Muse! isn’t dumbing anything down. The guitars and sneaky horns slide in and out of the mix knocking the listener off kilter just when s/he has found drummer Hugo Klaer’s propulsive direction. This is an album for the young and the old, people who lived through it as well as their kids. Hey Muse! ends on a remarkably tough guitar line and an autobiographical tale: “when we were boys, we fell in love with loudest noise,”
Rating: 5 out of 5 whistles
Best Song: “When We Were Young”
Lead-In Image – Composite
- Album and sleeve – Courtesy of imagefactory / Shutterstock.com
- Main album cover – Courtesy of Blablo101 / Shutterstock.com
- Album collage – Algiers – Matador Records; Candid Kid – Candid Kid; Suburbs – Suburbs Music; Banditos – Bloodshot Records; Imagine Dragons – KIDinaKorner/Interscope; and UNKLE – Cooking Vinyl.