We Versus the Shark
We Versus the Shark’s Ruin Everything! is one of the busiest albums I’ve heard recently, touching every portion of ground possible on the harder side of indie rock. The problem is that this type of genre collecting/condensing doesn’t yield songs within songs as much as it just becomes a blurry near-sighted jumble. Simply put, the band needs focus. Both “Ten Uh Clock Heart Uh Tack” and “I Am Destined For Greatness” are wracked with vile emo phrasings. The former gets points for Samantha Paulson’s singing instead of screaming, but quickly loses them for its overly grunge bridge. The latter has the audacity to include the line “it won’t last, not forever” with all the overbearing sincerity of Jimmy Eat World.
Elsewhere, the band tries its hand at jazzy punk a la Karate (“This Graceless Planet”) and so-slack-I’ll-tell-you-it-hurts-tomorrow vocal and musical Pavement rip (“As Good As It Gets”). “Slide,” probably my favorite track here, has some nice interplay in the chorus and verse between the guitar and keyboard, but the coda leaves the back door open for horns to sneak in, leading to an unfortunate and completely uncalled for ska explosion. The disc’s two best moments come early on: the fervent a capella intro on “You Don’t Have to Kick It” and the hand clap/foot stomp intro of “As Good As It Gets.” Sadly, these both get dropped from the mix much too early. Without a proper foothold, the innovation comes up as extraneous as the rest of the other song “movements.” In the end, I think We Versus the Shark would like to be a progressive band, but their method totally lacks direction. Instead of moving their sound forward, they’re caught spinning in circles.
Hello Sir: www.hellosirrecords.com