Land Sharks – ‘Rock-A-Lips’

By Liam Knowles

When a band is made up of familiar names from established acts, you generally enter the first listen with an idea of what they might sound like. Land Sharks are an exception to that. How on earth do you predict the sound of a band featuring members of a groove-punk band (Mr Shiraz), a ‘classic’ rock band (Wayward Sons) and a platinum-selling indie band (Embrace)? That’s right, you can’t. Any guess you could make would be incorrect, so you might as well stop trying and just stick the record on.

Things start straightforwardly enough with ‘Shark Idol’, a conventional but solid slab of synth-driven rock and roll. The riffs are catchy as hell, the synths sound great (if not a little overpowering at times) and Michael Baird’s swaggering vocals give an almost Bronx-like quality to what would otherwise be a pretty straight rock track. After this, things take a bit of a weird turn, and the EP is better for it. ‘Foundations’, for example, is a much more sinister affair. The vocals are reminiscent of a scrappier Faith No More, whilst musically the band trudge menacingly through the verses before allowing the squealing guitars and 70s prog-esque synth lines to battle with each other for ownership of the chorus.

‘Hereditary’ is another darker track, where the electronics are used to excellent effect to create an unsettling ambience that carries the track from start to finish. The Faith No More influence is unquestionable again on this track, but that’s by no means a bad thing; it’s impressive to see a band wear their influences so clearly on their sleeves without it sounding reductive. ‘No Pity’ is a little forgettable after the previous two-track run – it’s decent enough with an infectious sing-along chorus but, bar a killer synth line in the verses, it’s just not as interesting musically, while closer ‘Rock-A-Lips’ is a great sleazy rock number that slightly outstays its welcome at almost six minutes long.

Land Sharks have clearly worked hard on coming out into the world fully formed, and it is testament to the members of the band that their first real release is this robust. If they steered a just a touch further away from the straight rock stuff and leaned more into their odd, ominous proggy side, whilst still channelling that energy into these concentrated 2-3 minute blasts of music, they could be on to something really special.

LIAM KNOWLES

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