Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
Thanks to Sharks, this night, the one that's happening right now, seems as if it - like all of its kin - should be burnt at both ends. It seems as if it should be pumping with midnight oil and that oil should be smelling up the place with its pungency, with its willingness to never end or dry up. It gets burnt and it gets burnt until the eyes get crossed and the legs give out, or until the speech slurs and the sun arises. The situations and the stories that come out of the mouth of lead singer James Mattock are those of being out on the street when the greater number of people are tucked snugly in their beds, resting away through the evening hours, with something important to do the following morning. These people still awake, still stressed and wandering are looking for some way to tie it all together, to not have to be out roaming the streets when all of the last calls are happening, when the best bet is on something bad happening before they can find their ways home. These are the hours when the devil works the hardest and it sounds as if they know it. They're dangling from their fingernails, fighting against many things that they can't even see, things that are getting their jabs in way more often than they should. They're disgruntled with the way almost everything is going, the way almost everything and everyone is treating them. It's a never-ending, can't-get-out-of-the-rut story that still feels as if there's time left on the clock. It's almost as if there's some kind of optimism that, if they keep on their feet, keep walking around in the lights that are getting more amber and duller in contract to the sky they back, that it could be the night that they win. It could be the night when they don't see the end of it or it could be the night when they're heroes for once, whatever that could mean for them. They're just looking for a little glimmer of hope in there somewhere and Sharks rely on that glimmer on nearly all of the songs off of this year's "The Joys of Living 2008-2010." It's a record that takes on a similar feeling to the Hold Steady's "Boys and Girls In America," where there's a real malaise going around, where there's a need for something good to happen. The group from Royal Leamington Spa in the United Kingdom give us countless examples of the human spirit and the way it should look running on fumes, but instead the spirit is shouting out anthems. It's trying to rise above the dumps. It's mustering all that it has left to mount as many final charges as needed to break out of the days that it's seen enough of.