SHARK SANDWICH – Fast Album Reviews for Those on the Go
September 3, 2017 – Vol. 52
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.
INHEAVEN – INHEAVEN
I don’t know where INHEAVEN came from (South London) or when (2ish years ago), but none of those details matter when their self-titled debut has the potential to bring the widest grins to the most jaded rock fans around the world. The smiles emerge because the music is loud, proud, and chockablock with such rock and roll touchstones as Bruce Springsteen (“Stupid Things”), the Go-Go’s (“Baby’s Alright”), Motorhead (“Vultures”), and the list goes on and on and on. This band wears its influences on its sleeves, and I’ll be damned if it doesn’t work every time. By the time you get to “Just Like Honey”…. er “Real Love,” you will be hooked for life. This is possibly the most enjoyable rock and roll release of the year so far.
Rating: 5 out of 5 whistles
Best Song: “Stupid Things”
LCD Soundsystem – American Dream
James Murphy, also known as LCD Soundsystem, has been away for a couple of years, but American Dream is a fitting return to form. Opening “Oh Baby” with a full minute of post millennial tension before the crooning starts, the jittery, danceable album is an adventurous and fulfilling listen. Every track is 5:30+, making plenty of space to stretch out, and worm their way into your brain. Murphy has a lot to say on American Dream, and he delivers his thoughts on top of engaging beats and bleeps, giving every bit of the album due time to flower into the listeners’ ears.
Rating: 4 out of 5 whistles
Best Song: “Call the Police”
Madeline Kenney – Night Night at the First Landing
Dreams awake on Madeline Kenney’s debut full length, Night Night at the First Landing. The atmosphere is so gauzy that even when the noise picks up, as on “Rita,” it still feels like you awoke at 4 AM for some unknown reason. It can be disorienting, but in a good way. Kenney has a way of uplifting you via your subconscious. One second you are floating away on a pillow of breathy vocals and steady, hypnotic music, and the next you are wide awake in a darkened room and quiet world feeling better about yourself than you have in weeks.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 whistles
Best Song: “Witching Hour”
Cloud Control – Zone
Australian indie rockers, Cloud Control, are hitting all of right notes on this insistent, but not pushy album of introvert anthems. The guitars are occasionally crunchy, only as the song requires, but the vocals play a starring role on tracks like “Rainbow City.” Cloud Control know how to put an appropriate rhythm together, and whole is more than the sum of the parts on Zone. It would be nice to hear the band cut loose, but that isn’t what they are all about, I suspect. This album is the soundtrack for driving to a film festival, for all the good and bad that description conjures.
Rating: 3 out of 5 whistles
Best Song: “Rainbow City”
OMD – The Punishment of Luxury
If you only know Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark from the Pretty in Pink soundtrack (“If You Leave”), then you clearly are not giving enough credit this duo of electro synth pop pioneers. They crushed it all through the 80s and 90s, and returned to making music for us in 2010. The Punishment of Luxury is a deep dive into what could only be superficially described as above. This is more. The keyboards are skronkier, the edges sharper, and the art is up in front calling the damn shots.
Rating: 4 out of 5 whistles
Best Song: “As We Open, So We Close”
Lead-In Image – Composite
- Album and sleeve – Courtesy of imagefactory / Shutterstock.com
- Main album cover – Courtesy of Blablo101 / Shutterstock.com
- Album collage – INHEAVEN – Pias America; LCD Soundsystem – Columbia Records; Madeline Kenney – Company Records; Cloud Control – Votiv; and OMD – White Noise Records.