Hope This Works!

Certainly wasting no time, the 2014 born Shark Punch have released their debut full-length.  The Hayward California septet unleashes 10 songs of ska punk flavor entitled ‘Hope This Works.’  Let’s check it out…

 

  1. “Shut Up Dustin”-Grab your boards and get ready to shoot the curl in this ska-laced surf instrumental. With fantastic solos from the saxophone and the trumpet, Shark Punch starts out on the right fin.  Grade: A-

 

  1. “Day of the Dead”- The first song warms you up for the absolute musical beat-down your will experience during “Day of the Dead.”  This is your basic hard-hitting punk number (with horns!).  Grade: B

 

  1. “Same Old Things”- I love when bands re-create the third wave sound that I grew up with. Look no further than this for a perfect example of the when ska had its 15 minutes of fame.  Great song!  Grade: A-

 

  1. “Fall in Line”- This next track is more of the 90’s sound with signature ska-guitar and a killer solo near the end. Grade: A-

 

  1. “Mr. Drift On”-Slow and methodical from the start, I really dig the craftsmanship of this song as a whole. It is the slowest song thus far, but it is also my favorite.   Grade: A

 

  1. “Insane”-Shark Punch cranks things up once again is this horn-heavy number. Maybe it is the stark contrast between the lead vocals and the backing gang vocals, but this song did not strike a chord with me.  Grade: C

 

  1. “Stuck on the Same Page”- Returning to form in this next track the boys crank out another solid number. A little clunky at the transitions, this is still a pretty decent ska ditty reminding me a little of the Rayguns.  Grade: B

 

  1. “Shit Fucker”- Normally I don’t like swearing for the sake of swearing, but this SO over the top it is laughable and will get stuck into the inner grooves of your brain.  A foot-tapper for sure.  Grade: A-

 

  1. “Boom Boom Boom”- If you took the fun upbeat tunes of the Aquabats and crossed them with the sex-soaked “Caress Me Down”  from Sublime, you would get “Boom Boom Boom.” The real question is why boom, when you can double boom?  Awesome!  Grade: A

 

  1. “Don’t Fuck With Me”-The classic ‘love gone bad’ formula wrapped in the ska punk garnishes works for me every time. Excellent work by the songsmith in the danceable closing track.  Grade: A-

 

Sharing the same love of the ‘F word’ as Reel Big Fish’s Aaron Barrett, Shark Punch brings it hard in their latest release.  Rocking the ska-punk subset, they share the same overall sound as Buck-O-Nine, The AoKs and  Backyard Superheroes.  Maybe not as polished at the third wave bands that inspired their sound, this is a great first album to say the least.  With little variation in genre (which is wise for a first album), there is still enough variety here to make every song sound unique and enjoyable.    The horns are heard loud and clear, fitting nicely with punked up guitar.  I personally think that Shark Punch shines the brightest when they stick to the 90’s ska formula or when they slow things down a bit as in “Mr. Drift On”.   Things get a little unhinged in the harder, more aggressive numbers such as “Day of the Dead” and “Insane.”  I say this not to criticize, but merely to state my musical taste.  Overall this is a great recording that anyone into ska punk will love to sink their teeth into.  I see much promise for these gents, and I look forward to what the future holds for them.  Surf on over to their site and check out these sweet tunes!

 

Overall Grade: B+

 

 

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