Jaguar Shark - This City Will Eat Me Alive (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Jaguar Shark

This City Will Eat Me Alive (2013)

Broken English

Jaguar Shark can be best described as a hard, fast but melodic brand of punk. In fact, hardcore–punk suits the bill. They hinge on guttural, raging vocals to channel their messages and challenge your musical complacency. In just under fourteen minutes, This City Will Eat Me Alive exhibits itself as nothing too flashy but a massively generous ball of energy. Hardcore–punk done right, indeed.

"4202" is exactly why the NJ/NYC crowds and bloggers have taken to them. There's a grating circle of anger envisioned when their mosh–and–thrash attitude hits and this track is packed with cutting, dual guitars that bulk up the driving and boisterous tone of the five–tracker. This album, compared to their older stuff, is a bit more melodic hardcore than their dated garage–punk/americana sound. The old elements are there but the sound slightly shifts. Ripping riffs and power–focused drumming from Steve Cerri (who steals the show throughout) carve out singer Derek Reilly's take on life and feeling lost, as the title alludes to his old apartment number, when a relationship failed and left him a bit worse for the wear.

Their sound reminds me a lot of label–mates, Fort Street, and RVA's This Is Your Life with crisp work on the kit and ever–present solos that shred. Their rough sounds do dance around varying tempos with the instrumental pace changed often but it crystallizes well come "EWR to LHR" – a political missive that's full of youth, rage–inducing tones and angry exuberance. It's a throwback once more to their old stuff, with some humorous clips spliced in for good measure. Derek's brother, Alex, then chops up a gravitiating bassline to Cerri's thumping percussion, and what ensues is a more post–hardcore sound more than anything. "Ikea Nesting Syndrome" fluctuates in its pace but the multiple vocals, mini–screamo effect and the arrangement all add so much to its structure. The album's well–bridged at this mid–point and a stark reminder of their versatility and how it chews you up and spits you out. They're so nonchalant, which is seen on the lighthearted, yet edgy, "Banned From The Fest" which affirms itself as an introspective, personal, bickering and pissed–off track that's engrossed in its own shell of distorted punk–rock.

By the time "See You Next Tuesday" wraps proceedings to their innate hardcore–punk note, one thing's stenciled in. In fact, it's more inherent than I first thought when checking their past music out and that this band is in your face. They've got a lot of attitude but they touch on themes such as lost paths, redemption, heartache, maturing and that kind of reflection stirs the pot nicely. Their stance of solidarity in punk sits well with me.