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Sharks - Ready Set Go

  by Kimberly Bright

published: 25 / 9 / 2018

Sharks - Ready Set Go
Label: 3Ms Music
Format: CD


Versatile second album in two years from reformed, still underrated pre-punk supergroup Sharks

Sharks’ most recent album, their fifth or sixth depending on whether you count 'Car Crash Tapes' as an official album or a collector’s item, follows quickly on the heels of 2016’s 'Killers of the Deep'. The momentum created by Chris Spedding and steve Parsons ('Snips') working together on an ongoing basis, particularly playing live for the past three years joined by Tosh Ogawa on bass and most recently the hunky powerhouse Gene Clark replacing Sex Pistol Paul Cook on drums, was something that had to be captured on another album as quickly as possible. Which brings me to car restoration TV programmes. Shows about revamping people’s frumpy houses or completely restoring and customizing someone’s crappy car make it appear that amazing changes took place over a few hours while the owners were out at the pub or walking their dogs. In reality, these transformations take a large team of people and weeks to accomplish. Spedding and Snips, who have happily worked together on a regular basis since first meeting in 1972, are the exact opposite. They can create a fantastic album like 'Ready Set Go' in one studio in a matter of days out of nothing, mostly just between the two of them, and then it takes months and months for the record to finally be released. Hopefully the choice to release thirteen songs is not a bad sign -- the thirteenth Tarot card is, well, Death. The baker’s dozen include nods to R&B, soul, doo-wop, punk, 70's hard rock and 60's rock and pop – which explains the aesthetic and working title of “black Beatles and white Temptations,” still acknowledged by the beetles all over the Shaky Kane cover art. That’s not to say this sounds like a throwback to rock’s golden age; it’s still a modern take on guitar rock. Even so, devotees of “real music” might just fall to their knees in gratitude. Snips is in fine blue-eyed-soul voice, especially on 'House of You', 'That Girl' and 'Big Chantelle'. 'Crash Party' name-drops not only 'The Sloop John B' but Charlie Manson (and maybe J.G. Ballard) on the Pacific Coast Highway. He throws in the Beatles, the Marvelettes, the Temptations, and the Beach Boys on 'Doo Wop Nation' King Mob’s 'Who’s Chasing Who' is nicely reworked here as 'Who Chaser'. Original Sharks keyboardist Nick Judd, who, as Snips describes it, is “all over the new album like an octopus with manicured fingers,” does great work on 'Come All Ye' Chris Spedding is, as usual, effortlessly brilliant and focused: razor-sharp riffs and solos on 'Come All Ye', 'Kink Mess' and 'Mr. Sloane', pure mid-‘70s Spedding bubblegum rock on 'That Girl', slide work on opener “Big Chantelle,” and impeccable alchemic touches everywhere. Sharks fans who prefer their 'First Water' debut will appreciate 'Ready Set Go' a bit more than 'Killers of the Deep'. There is an urgency and adrenaline here that was lacking before, perhaps due to knowing that there’s a limited amount of time to accomplish everything together, and that energy propels what may well be their best release since Andy Fraser left the band. I say this as someone who loves 'A Black Van Parked on a Dark Curve', which was designed to be the recreation of Sharks’ scrapped third album for Island Records in 1974. (The recovered original tracks from the ‘70s sessions are on 'Car Crash Tapes'.) Tosh Ogawa has had rather large shoes to fill (Andy Fraser, Busta Cherry Jones), but his bass playing is stronger on this record than ever before. 'House of You' sounds like he’s been closely studying Free records. Spedding and Snips played a few tribute shows to Fraser after his death in 2015, which then spurred the Sharks reunion, but it’s this album that is the real tribute.

Track Listing:-
1 Big Chantelle
2 Who Chaser
3 Crash Party
4 It Will Stand
5 Mr. Sloane
6 That Girl
7 Kink Mess
8 House of You
9 Doo Wop Nation
10 Come All Ye
11 Darkwing and Honeybee
12 A Lovelike Eye
13 Song of the Slave

Band Links:-

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Interview (2016)
Sharks - Interview
John Clarkson speaks to Steve Parsons abour the return of his band Sharks with a new album, 'Killers of the Deep' and first UK tour in forty-two years, and their plans to recreate their car, the Sharkmobile, with the aid of a Crowdfunding campaign

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Killers of the Deep (2017)
Reunited pre-punk supergroup Sharks leap from out of the wreckage and onto the dance floor, picking up with their new album from where they left off in 1974

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