SHARKS - The Joys of Living 2008-2010 (Cover Artwork)


The Joys of Living 2008-2010 (2011)


Remember picking up the Gaslight Anthem's Sink or Swim and being completely blown away by the sweet Americana-flavored punk rock sounds? Well, you're about to relive that experience all over again with SHARKS' The Joys of Living 2008-2010. While there may be early Gaslight influences in the music, every track feels like a breath of fresh air. The compilation collects the band's first two EPs, a seven-inch single and two new tracks

The rolling beats of "The Joys of Living" and "Trains" carry the first half of the album with excitement on every chord played. My two favorite tracks on here have to be "It All Relates" and "Common Ground", though. These numbers are mid-tempo, anthemic rockers that'll have you out of your seat chanting along with the infectious rhythms. Even slower tunes like "More Blue" feel right in place with the rest of the collection. It's interesting how a UK band can capture that rock 'n' roll Americana feel without...well, being from America. Still, a very good effort put forth by a fresh face to the overdone sound of modern punk. The instrumentation on this record is definitely done right. From hints of reggae basslines, to country twangs, to the blues-influenced harmonica, SHARKS provide an endless supply of subtle experimentation.

And if you're a fan of the Clash (which I know you are), you'll most likely fall in love with James Mattock's voice because the resemblance to Joe Strummer is uncanny. His voice carries the music all the way through without falter. The vocals here are strong, though, whether it's Mattock singing by himself, or the gang chiming in with him. It's sweet music to my ears either way.

With all the fast and heavy variations of punk out there today, it's nice to know that some bands like to find a nice medium between "roots rock" and a unique sound. SHARKS offer you a mature sound structure while still retaining the young, invigorating energy that makes The Joys of Living so incredible. Mr. Strummer would have been proud.