SHARK SANDWICH – Fast Album Reviews for Those on the Go
June 2, 2017 – Vol. 41
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.
Thea Gilmore – the Counterweight
Artistry is important stuff, and you know who is taking this charge seriously when you hear it. Thea Gilmore is serious about her chosen art form, but not selfishly or without a sense of self, place, and humility. From the opening naked piano hits to the unadorned closing vocals, the Counterweight is never anything short of breathtaking. There are poppy moments, in the best ways possible, like “Reconcile,” but there is never an inch of artistry conceded, which is what the best music is, really. Just listen to “Sounds Good to Me” over and over and over again, because if that track doesn’t stop your world, well, we just don’t live in the same one.
Rating: 5 out of 5 whistles
Best Song: “Sounds Good to Me”
Dan Auerbach – Waiting on a Song
Dan Auerbach is relentlessly retro on Waiting on a Song. The title track, about writer’s block, sounds like Phil Spector recorded the Stones’ Exile on Main Street, and throughout the rest of the album there are hints of Big Star and the Flying Burrito Brothers, and his commitment to all is admirable. It is a rollicking good time. Autumnal in feel, and therefore out of time, much like the music itself, it smells of old records, weed, and promises made by friends who won’t be as close a year from now.
Rating: 4 out of 5 whistles
Best Song: “Waiting on a Song”
Benjamin Booker – Witness
Opening with skronky noise that builds into a kick ass garage burner, Benjamin Booker, a quickly rising star, is back just in time–just in time to grab you by the collar and make you notice. It isn’t all fun and games on Witness, and it shouldn’t be. His raspy voice hides in the shadows, as the soulful delivery sneaks the message into your subconscious. Pay attention, too, because the title track features stone-cold American legend Mavis Staples helping this call to action, to consciousness, to do what we all should already be doing.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 whistles
Best Song: “Believe”
Pixx – The Age of Anxiety
Pixx has perfectly named the time in which we live in today. We’ve all felt it, so maybe The Age of Anxiety isn’t all that surprising, but she put it down in words for the rest of eternity. That alone should win the artist some sort of award, but thankfully the music is always interesting. It is electronic folk, an anxious combination of video games with siren sound and vocals with a point. “Everything is Weird in America,” indeed.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 whistles
Best Song: “Grip”
Roger Waters – Is this the Life We Really Want?
Roger Waters opens with a truly anxiety-inducing hodgepodge of muffled vocals, a clock ticking, and strings moaning in the background. It is the master at work, haunting your days, keeping you up all night, and ill at ease 24 hours a day. These are weird times, and Waters (along with Pixx) isn’t the first to notice. Open your fist and heart and hug a stranger today. It’s a start that Waters would agree with, and I think that is the point of this whole thing.
Rating: 4 out of 5 whistles
Best Song: “Smell the Roses”
Lead-In Image – Composite
- Album and sleeve – Courtesy of imagefactory / Shutterstock.com
- Main album cover – Courtesy of Blablo101 / Shutterstock.com
- Album collage – Thea Gilmore – Cooking Vinyl; Dan Auerbach – Nonesuch; Benjamin Booker – ATO Records; Pixx – 4AD; and Roger Waters – Columbia.