I’m not going to lie. The primary reason I listened to Today’s New Band was because of a lightly-obsessive punctuation fetish. This is a confession of sorts, so here goes: I’m drawn, moth-like, to bands with question marks in their name.
It was once Northern Irish spazz-rockers Therapy?, then marvellous 60’s US fruit-loop garage rockers ? And The Mysterians, and now I’ve tractor-beamed onto today’s super new band, Shark?.
I don’t know why. It’s probably the air of mystery again. What would cause such an exclamation? Is it the last derisive snort of a soon-to-be-devoured, cocky sailor? The unused and alternative title for Jaws? If you too obsess over minor, idiotic details like this, you’ll understand the maddening attraction.
Querying-punctuation marks aside, Shark? is a bit of a grubby thrill. **CLICHÉ ALERT** A shark needs to keep moving forwards to survive (Zing!), but Shark? has shot backwards and found a richly gunky and dirty sound to thrive on. This is superb grimy garage-rock, with the added benefit of 30-odd years’ hindsight.
“I’ve got friends in low places/ I’ve got bones to pick with everyone (but you),” half-threatens I’ve Got Friends. The song chunters and grinds; a wild mechanical blur of fuzzy guitars and stark drumbeats.
If that was a song to be appreciated, then I’m An Animal is one to throw yourself around the bedroom to: the chiming riff pealing insistently, the hi-hats constant, the vocals growling, weary but happy.
As I’m An Animal explodes in a maelstrom of cute overlapping melodies and frenzied drums, you might dwell on the thought that such greatness is often achieved in this kind of simplicity. Songs like these leave nothing else on which to ponder. They’re simple, straightforward and yet convoluted enough to make you wonder. Shark?: scuzzy and pure. Listen here!