1. False Flags
2. The Killer Inside Me
3. It's Not Working Out
4. Swing Away, Merrill
5. A History of Violence
6. Don't Say Revenge
9. Burn Down London
10. Abandon All Hope
After hearing as cool a name as Harbour Sharks I had one initial thought: “These guys must be pretty frigging entertaining” and boy was I not disappointed.
I admit that I can be quite bad at embracing new music of my own volition and so I rely on the incessant ramblings of my friends to bother me enough to listen to new stuff, or alternatively I eagerly await the albums I receive to review and to date I haven’t been disappointed.
When the first track “False Flags” opens up the album, I was initially expecting the usual fayre as their Slipknot-esque chug starts up the track.
This proves to be just a facade however as the main riff kicks in, the tempo is fast, the riffs interesting and the bass and drums are heavy. This song felt quite reminiscent of the Cancer Bats musically, while the lead vocal takes on a softer somewhat Pop Punkier approach (Potentially Mark Hoppus-esque if he were born in England) which is accompanied by a heavier Punkish back scream in a fusion that just works.
This momentum is not let up as the album moves into “The Killer Inside Me” which starts with a chugging single guitar intro that progresses into a new even heavier feeling riff.
Though if I had to choose an all time favourite on this album it would no question be the next track “It’s Not Working Out” which out of nowhere completely breaks what I thought was the established Status Quo.
The intro comes in steady with a vocal lead and guitar accompaniment with just a bit of time keeping from the drums.
Then the band all jump in and suddenly I’m taken back to my years at Uni, all that time spent listening to 311 on repeat (I went through a phase of obsession), the tone of the song takes a complete turn and in no way for the worst, this track started off what would soon be the telltale signs of the Harbour Shark’s true ability to embrace a variety of genres into their sound.
The next track “Swing Away Merrill” comes in with a new surprise in the form of a reference to a film I definitely wasn’t expecting. This time the sound felt quite reminiscent of Alkaline Trio particularly in the main verses, before moving to a more Pop Punky feeling chorus.
The Titular track on the album comes in with the exact style you might expect, fast and heavy with a vocal lead coming from the resident shouter of the band which had a kind of Gallows feel to it.
“Don’t Say Revenge” comes in with a steadier tempo before building up in the verse. The chorus was particularly catchy in this track and I feel like it really offered the opportunity for both vocal styles to flaunt what they had.
“Vulva” was a surprisingly short track coming in at 56 seconds but the band put each of those seconds to good use, this song had a more Metal feeling intro with choppy guitar and screaming, this song had a particular message to portray and the sign off lyric at the end certainly drove that point home for me, amidst a few chuckles at the choice of words. If you’re wondering what they are you’ll just have to check it out yourself, I wouldn’t want to waste the surprise!.
“Shatter” came in with yet another style change and I really enjoyed it, it starts off quite fast paced and heavy, and then the initial vocals come in, this track started to feel quite like Arcane Roots.
“Burn Down London” brought back the Pop Punky vibe once again, having quite a Blink 182 feel again I have to say I love the lead Vocals in this album, like I previously stated he has a real Mark Hoppus vibe going on, which works well with the music these guys have created.
Abandon All Hope” was a huge style change in comparison to the rest of the album, it was a lot slower and a lot moodier and was a perfect example of how well this band are able to make their sound work in a variety of styles.
Ok so I suppose I better summarise.
In short: Wow!
In a little less short: I loved this album, the Harbour Sharks have found themselves a sound that exhibits so many styles while at the same time never outrightly ripping from any of them. Part of why I prefer lighter genres and sub-genres is because they can fluctuate between heavier and softer songs easily and these guys utilise this freedom well.
The lead Vocalist has a great voice which never struggled to meet the mark, and is contrasted nicely by the backing vocals and a particularly piercing shout/screamer.
The Music is always interesting, sometimes hitting the heavy sound perfectly and sometimes just fun to listen to.
But I think of everything said I have to say, considering these guys are a three piece, I’m really impressed with the noise these guys make and at the same time make it seem to effortless.
I tried to be critical where I could but ultimately I couldn’t, these guys ticked all my boxes.
Keep it up lads you guys are smashing it with this album, you can count me as a fan!
Website - www.harboursharks.org
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/harboursharksmusic/
Review - Ric Snell