Tucked at the tail end of Sharkmuffin’s sophomore release is a scuzzy little Creepoid-like track called “Scully is a Sharkmuffin,” whose lyrics repeat the crying plea “I want to believe.” If you missed the ’90s influences that the band wear as fashionably as a torn babydoll dress and some ancient Doc Martens, than this little ode to The X Files should make it clear from which decade these Brooklyn ladies cull their vibe. It’s in their unrefined vocals and raspy howls, and in the way their sexy feminine swagger feels like it could pierce like a dagger at any moment. They fall somewhere on the scale between Hole and 7 Year Bitch, but with the quirky sense of mischief found in Yeah Yeah Yeahs or Red Aunts.
Their 2015 debut was an unhinged assault of energy and desire, unfiltered and produced with the immediacy of a sweaty garage recording. This release takes the time to smolder and blaze, with detours into psychedelic galaxies, salty surf guitar breaks, and dancehall breakdowns — sometimes within the same song. There’s even a sweet nod to girl groups in the form of a quick doo-wop tune, complete with handclaps (“Too Much Fun”). Sharkmuffin are not to be pigeon-holed.
The production is wound tight, and even though the album breathes it doesn’t drag — it cruises fast, with style. Every cut is choice, but if I had to choose “Little Bird,” “I Wanna Be You” and “Leather Gloves” are the perfect jumping off points.