No Gods

Written by: PP on 18/04/2012 03:43:31

"No Gods" is the official debut album of UK's Sharks, who have long been touted as the saviours of punk rock and all that superlative nonsense that the British music press likes to attach to their own bands who are just breaking out. The hype nationally caught up with the exec's at Rise Records, busy in their own process of expanding beyond scene music, who decided to take the band under their wing. Granted, it's not really a proper debut album as such, given that "The Joys Of Living 2008-2010" was really a full length in its own despite its compilation status, what with including a number of early EPs and only a couple of new songs.

In any case, "The Joys..." carried a sound so similar to The Clash thanks to their singer, so of course the band blew up and started on a career path very similar to that taken by The Gaslight Anthem. As such, it's also no surprise to find "No Gods" shifting the band away from their punk rock roots and more into that mainstream friendly, genre-crossing rock sound that Gaslight did on "American Slang". Essentially, the songs here have been written as arena-sized anthems, with glimmering guitar riffs designed to echo around huge festival stages, and easy-going, safe vocals that are so extremely friendly and likable that criticizing them is entirely out of the question. It's a good career move; Sharks are sure to grow exponentially because their audience is now wide open - much like Bruce Springsteen or any of the big career rockers whose music suits pretty much everyone on the planet, hence their mega star status even in 2012.

And this is the point where the path separates into two for most bands. Either they sell out and write cheesy, radio rock songs that'll ensure quick sales success but will not earn them a place in rock history as they'll be forgotten in a few year's time. Or they continue to write mature, catchy rock songs that carry with them the unique identity of the band, one that'll ensure that people will remember them in the years to come. For Sharks, they are quickly approaching that crossing. Moving their sound any further away from its light punk undertones than it already has is guaranteed to mellow out the album too much for anyone but the most mainstream of music listeners. The way "No Gods" is for the time being, it contains just enough of both, much like "The American Slang" did for The Gaslight Anthem. It makes it clear that Sharks are no longer going to be that punk rock band with airy melodies; they're now a fully fledged rock band in the modern incarnation of the term. At the same time, it retains the sense of honesty and genuineness that their compilation album promised. So it's the best of both worlds, really, though with one main criticism as an afterthought: it never really manages to 'wow' the listener with timeless moments.

Download: 'Til The Wonders Rise, Matthew's Baby, Arcane Effigies, Luck
For the fans of: The Gaslight Anthem, The Clash, American Steel, The Cold Beat
Listen: YouTube

Release date 19.03.2012
Rise Records

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