SHARK SANDWICH – Fast Album Reviews for Those on the Go
March 1, 2019 – Vol. 88
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.
Gary Clark Jr. – This Land
OK, just wow, Gary Clark Jr. is on fire with This Land. If it is a guitar-based style of music, Clark can get down with it, but it is more than that. Blues, funk, rock and roll, punk, whatever, he isn’t just a style blender. His songs are passionate and fiery, sometimes pissed off, but always about the music and message, no matter how he chooses to deliver it. There is more guitar than you can shake a stick at, but pay attention to the songs as a whole, because there is a faith and power in each one that is rarely seen these days.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 whistles
Best Song: “Gotta Get Into Something”
The Japanese House – Good at Falling
London-based singer/songwriter Amber Bain is the Japanese House, and every second of Good at Falling feels like her breathy vocals and moody keys are trying their damnedest to strangle you. It’s a weird kind of dark. Superficially, the album sounds like a partly cloudy day not far from the coast, but there is a message to these tracks that affects the listener. If you let it in, the whiplash can be disorienting. Good art is seldom straight-forward or easy, and the Japanese House is no exception.
Rating: 4 out of 5 whistles
Best Song: “You Seemed So Happy”
Weezer – (the black album)
Weezer has been in my life for so long, and I have always been better for their presence, but for a long, long time their impact has been at the song instead of album level. Each album has songs that are A-OK, or even awesome, but their more recent albums have left me cold. This new one is a perfect example, and by entirely jettisoning any noticeable guitar crunch they have limited their sound rather than expanded it. “Can’t Stop the Hustle” is dumb but fun as hell, while “I’m Just Being Honest” finally reaches the heights the band was aiming for in the first place. In the end, Weezer should have probably just pressed their Toto cover along with “Can’t Stop the Hustle” and “I’m Just Being Honest” onto a 7 inch for Record Store Day this April.
Rating: 3 out of 5 whistles
Best Song: “I’m Just Being Honest”
Ian Brown – Ripples
Ian Brown, formerly of the Stone Roses, presents a great palate cleanser, and day resetter with Ripples. It’s hard to dwell on your shitty day, your job in the cube, or your messed up latte while listening to “First World Problems.” Brown has a great, hippy-ish attitude throughout Ripples that can be infectious, but sometimes can become boring. Still, his intention is pure, and when he’s on he’s on, so it is hard to fault him for committing to the spirit he is following on Ripple.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 whistles
Best Song: “Ripples”
Durand Jones & the Indications – American Love Call
It’s not often I use the expression “keeping it real,” but Durand Jones & the Indications do just that on American Love Call. It’s not reinventing the wheel to play string-drenched 70s soul, but it is something special when a band does it so well. This isn’t music for getting down, so much as it is for getting it on, and bless them for that. Jones and his mates aren’t reinventing anything, but instead reminding the listener what an awesome invention 70s soul was in the first place.
Rating: 4 out of 5 whistles
Best Song: “Listen to Your Heart”
Lead-In Image – Composite
- Album and sleeve – Courtesy of imagefactory / Shutterstock.com
- Main album cover – Courtesy of Blablo101 / Shutterstock.com
- Album collage – Gary Clark Jr – Warner Bros; Ian Brown – Universal UK; Japanese House – Dirty Hit Records; Weezer – Crush Music; and Durand Jones & the Indications – Dead Oceans.