shark sandwich 108 - album reviews

Album Reviews – Caroline Rose – Spectres – and more !

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SHARK SANDWICH – Speedy Album Reviews for Those on the Go

March 13, 2020 – Vol. 108

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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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Caroline Rose – Superstar

In this time of Coronavirus, we might need Caroline Rose more than we even know. On the almost impossibly lush new album, Superstar, Rose is clearly trying to keep it together and using the airy music as stealth lyrical delivery device. Aren’t we ALL dealing with a lot these days? It’s nice to have Superstar to help us work through our plague-time tensions, and for that we owe Rose a debt of gratitude. Put this on, and be with yourself and the singer in a truly quarantine-ready communion.

Rating: 4 out of 5 whistles

Key Track: “Back at the Beginning”

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Jay Electronica – A Written Testimony

Doing a little research on Jay Electronica can be a maddening experience. The man is an enigma wrapped in a mystery rolled up in the rice and nori of controversy. If you put aside the frustrating lack of clarity about who the dude is, and just listen to his debut (!) album, A Written Testimony, you will find yourself leaning into the whirlwind. There is a lot going on from cover to cover of this remarkable album. I feel like Electronica is trying to start conversations here, fully expecting to continue with the listeners on social media, yes, but maybe more importantly in the ether of a form of musical spiritus mundi.

Rating: 4 out of 5 whistles

Key Track: “Flux Capacitor”

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Izo Fitzroy – How the Mighty Fall

“Self-assured” is a woefully insufficient adjective to describe Izo Fitzroy’s second album, How the Mighty Fall. Fitzroy is a London-based singer well versed in the blues, soul, and torch traditions, and oh yeah, her confidence is palpable all over this album. She’s gritty, and she’s in your face without trying too hard at it. Basically, this is a shot across the listener’s bow. If you are being fed shit, you don’t have to eat it, and take it from the singer, there is strength to be found in the struggle.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 whistles

Key Track: “Wolves in Disguise”

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The Fear Ratio – They Can’t Be Saved

London ambient music duo, The Fear Ratio, may have just released the soundtrack for the Coronavirus quarantine generation. They Can’t Be Saved relentlessly scrapes at your sense of balance and safety throughout its whole running time. There are no vocals, and the music certainly isn’t overly aggressive, but instead maintains a very consistent state of unease. It’s the background thrumming of a subtle apocalypse, a video game vision of dystopia that is turning out to have been true all along. Have fun with your dreams tonight.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 whistles

Key Track: “The Final Vision”

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Spectres – Nostalgia

Talk about an aptly-named album, Vancouver’s Spectres hit all the right notes with Nostalgia. “This band sounds just like [insert cool mostly 80s band here]!” Save it, Jack, Spectres is certainly more than the sum of their influences. Nostalgia may make you feel all the feels for a childhood that possibly never actually happened to you, but it will make you want to spray paint your windows black in the here and now. It’s always 20 degrees cooler in the room that Spectres are playing, so bundle up, drop the needle on this, and prepare to hate the world anew.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 whistles

Key Track: “Insurgence”

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And, especially now, you deserve to feel good…

Rating: I’m not crying, you are.

Key Track: This one, on loop.

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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 – Caroline Rose – New West Records; Izo Fitzroy – Jalapeno Records; Spectres – Artoffact; The Fear Ratio – Skam UK; and Jay Electronica – Roc Nation LLC