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We Versus The Shark
Ruin Everything
Hello Sir Records
www.wevstheshark.com


I am starting to get a lot of different music across my desk; I believe whenever my editor finds something he just doesn't know how to classify he throws it in my direction. I guess I am getting known for eclectic taste, or maybe no one else wants it. Whichever it is, I don't really care, as long as I still get bands like We Versus the Shark. Bands like this just keep things interesting.

They emphasize discordant altering guitars, and mumbled, melee inspired vocals. If it wasn't for the drums and bass working in unison to bind the songs together, the action would literally fall off the album because it is so chaotic and piecemeal. The clarity that is achieved through thought and feel is completely worth the experience as the record unfolds. The songs vary in intent nicely, creating a tapestry of material that evolves and pushes the album along.

While guitars appear to be the focus of the production, it is the drums and bass that take the cake in my mind. They work together as a coherent unit almost completely separate from the rest of the band, yet work as a glue to take the individual lines and turn them into a theme. Rarely do they work apart, but when they do, such as in "Easter Island is for Lovers", they bring a greater level of distinction to the songs. The drums in particular show a self-effacing nature to drive the material yet stay in the shadows, only to be brought out in the light a moment later to nail a point home. Right next to these lines, the bass keeps up, which is a compliment in itself for what it has to compete with. The guitars come off as trying too hard, and while they do add nice areas to the songs, most of the time they compete too much against each other, counter-productive.

As for the complete production, I can only say what I would have done differently. First, I would have varied the guitar sound effects more; different sounds across the album would have meant a greater distinction for where the guitars are opposite, and when they are melding together. I would have gone back to the structuring of the songs as well. Now, they exist in a chaotic formulation, which lends itself to the sound, but I would have liked to see if there was more of a middle ground that could emphasize the good lines, without feeling so epileptic. The vocals tended to muddy-down the overall feel of the album and a different look from that angle, could add to the clarity I am trying to find above.

There are a lot of good aspects to this album, but when you get so close to perfection it is my belief you can't fall inches short, you have to go all the way. Now I hope they carry it those extra inches. As to whom would I recommend this to? That's a hard one, I would say people who like Q and not U, or who like a little less abrasive Blood Brothers. It is not for everyone, so it will take a discrete ear to handle it. I dig it though, and maybe you could too.

-bishop

Track Listing:

1. You Don't Have To Kick It
2. As Good As It Gets
3. Ten Uh Clock Heart Uh Tack
4. This Graceless Planet
5. I Am Destined For Greatness
6. Slide
7. I Am At The Mercy Of An Ambulance Driver
8. Easter Island Is For Lovers
9. No Flint No Spark
10. I Am Your Idea


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Mike Doughty



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