SHARK SANDWICH – Fast Album Reviews for Those on the Go
September 29, 2017 – Vol. 56
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.
Jessica Lea Mayfield – Sorry Is Gone
Opening with the murky rocker, “Wish You Could See Me Now,” Jessica Lea Mayfield brings the hurt on this breakup record. Sorry Is Gone is deeply personal, and, proven time and again, pain makes music better. Mayfield delivers the bads (which are very good) much like a personal fave, Haley (McCullum née Bonar), which is a huge compliment. “Bum Me Out” sounds a bit like a folky version of Nirvana’s “Come As You Are,” and I think that might be a great description of Sorry Is Gone: Nirvana as played by Haley. Boom.
Rating: 4 out of 5 whistles
Best Song: “Bum Me Out”
J. Roddy Walston & The Business – Destroyers of the Soft Life
Music brings out the feels. Some music helps you through sadness, sometimes it makes you angry, J. Roddy Walston & The Business makes you feel like you have won something. Gang vocal choruses, wide open arrangements, and driving melodic rock and roll will make you smile a knowing smile and go to the cashier to collect your winnings: a new shine on your heart, and a soul ready for the world. Thank you, J. Roddy. Everyone should get into your business, gentlemen, so bring it to the masses.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 whistles
Best Song: “You Know Me Better”
Wolf Alice – Visions of a Life
Wolf Alice takes their paints, swirls them together, puts them on a Marshall stack, cranks everything to 11– and the audience is left with the decision to lean in or flee. Pro tip: lean in. It’s not all racket, though, as there is sometimes a clarity that can only come from quiet, and Wolf Alice does a great job of it. It’s just that when they rev up their Stooges-mobile like on “Space & Time,” you realize what pays the bills with this band. Put on album-closer, “Visions of a Life,” though, and you get it all: quiet, loud, slow, fast, everything in one eight-minute rock and roller coaster.
Rating: 4 out of 5 whistles
Best Song: “Visions of a Life”
Unsane – Sterilize
Could Unsane be from anywhere other than NYC? They have fans from all over, but it is hard to imagine a group like this forming in Southern Cali or Miami. Theirs is the sound of a living, breathing city doing battle with itself on a daily basis. Unsane sounds like a bulldozer giving the finger to a tour group heading to Times Square. It is low-end, abrasive, destructive, and it is coming for you, same as it ever was, on Sterilize.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 whistles
Best Song: “We’re Fucked”
Ibeyi – Ash
Ash is a stunning concoction of Afro-Cuban beats and multi-lingual poetry, along with a healthy dose of atmosphere. Ibeyi sounds like the Buena Vista Social Club had a baby with Massive Attack. “No Man is Big Enough for my Arms” is built off samples of Michelle Obama, and maybe it is the dad of daughters in me, but goddamn if it isn’t powerful as hell. This French/Cuban set of twins has a lot to say and do, and they don’t have time for your shit. Get out of the way if you don’t have anything of value to add to the discussion.
Rating: 5 out of 5 whistles
Best Song: “No Man is Big Enough for my Arms”
Lead-In Image – Composite
- Album and sleeve – Courtesy of imagefactory / Shutterstock.com
- Main album cover – Courtesy of Blablo101 / Shutterstock.com
- Album collage – J. Roddy Walston & The Business – ATO Records; Ibeyi – XL Recordings; Jessica Lea Mayfield – ATO Records; Wolf Alice – RCA; and Unsane – Southern Lord.