SHARKS - No Gods (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


No Gods (2012)


What the reverse Epitaph is going on with Rise Records? In the span of just over a year they've gone from dabbling in primarily electronica-tinged metalcore with hideously misogynistic lyrics and unlistenable breakdowns to releasing of string of fantastic, intelligent punk rock albums, and No Gods, the long-awaited debut full-length from Leamington Spa, U.K. youngsters SHARKS is among the best of the bunch.

Let's get the lazy comparisons out of the way, yes SHARKS sound like the Clash. Probably more so than most bands that have ever tried, primarily due to frontman James Mattock's vocals, which are a dead ringer for Joe Strummer's. And yes, the group's time spent touring Europe with the Gaslight Anthem has certainly rubbed off on them, most prominently in the lead guitar department. So while SHARKS might not be breaking much new ground musically, they are bringing a ton of heart, energy and craftsmanship to the table on No Gods.

From the onset of opener "Til the Wonders Rise," it's clear that SHARKS have matured and refined their sonic attack. The song's punchy guitars and stop-start rhythms feel more fully developed than anything from their early EPs. First single "Arcane Effigies" fares even better, showcasing muscular guitar riffs and an absolutely gorgeous chorus with background "whoas" aplenty. The absolutely gigantic production present on No Gods, courtesy of Brian McTernan, helps elevate these songs from simple punk rock tunes into full blown anthems.

The distant strings featured on "Luck," as well as the country overtones of "On a Clear day You Can See Yourself" and the blaring horn section on "Patient Spider," showcase a willingness to experiment, and suggest that the group has spent just as much time listening to Sandinista! as it has to Give ‘Em Enough Rope.

SHARKS have crafted their finest work yet with No Gods, an exciting, ambitious album that falls more into the "rock" sector of the punk rock spectrum than anything else. They wear their influences on their sleeves and still manage to sound fresh and modern, making for an engaging listen front to back. Now can the U.S. please get a Frank Turner/SHARKS/Apologies, I Have None British Invasion tour?