Sharks - No Gods

A ball of high-energy, low maintenance fun.

Label: Rise Records

Rating: 7

Sharks make no secret of the fact that they live and breathe punk music. Raised on a teenage riff-rich diet of Green Day and angsty poetry by much-revered hero of the blue-collared American, Bukowski, they have also name-checked The Stooges, amongst others. It would appear they are getting some loving back too. Mick Jones of The Clash has publicly expressed his affection for the band. No Britpop power struggles here – and isn’t it nice to see musicians getting along well for once?

Lots of bands are wearing their influences proudly on their sleeves – The Vaccines and Spector both instantly spring to mind – but none seem to do so with quite so much nonchalance as Sharks muster. Sure, ‘No Gods’ is not going to break any moulds like the original groundbreaking punk, but the overall feeling is that Sharks are not trying to be in vogue, or sell more records through yet another tiresome revival album. Sharks, in true punk fashion, are not doing this to keep anybody happy. In fact, they stick a defiant middle finger at anyone who cries ‘you’re just nostalgia-peddling!’ At times the album borders on the strain of pop-punk purveyed by high-school favourites The Offspring, especially in ‘Til The Wonders Rise’, with cliché-riddled hallmarks all over the shop, the ‘dramatically building drums’ before the chorus for example, the slightly predictable guitar solos and a bridge that may as well be plucked straight from a song by Bad Religion or NOFX.

Where ‘No Gods’ really hits its stride is on the songs that are not carbon copies of the pop-punk we’ve heard a million times on the Tony Hawk Pro Skater soundtracks that kept us busy throughout the 90s. The first single ‘Arcane Effigies’ has a fabulous guitar lick which has Thin Lizzy written all over it, and ‘What Entails’ is a potential indie anthem with plenty of wah-wahs that would win the approval of any self-respecting punk veteran.

At best, ‘No Gods’ is a ball of high-energy, low maintenance fun – plucking tasters of guitar music from anywhere Sharks bloody well like. To pick out a flaw this album is perhaps a little samey at times, and after eleven super-servings you’ve just about had your fill of chk-chk guitar for the week. There is one very commendable thing about ‘No Gods’ that cannot be said of many of the revival bands of the moment though – Sharks seem almost entirely free from pretension; for that reason alone the album will garner respect and stand the test of time with punk fans.