Hip Hop Hooray/You Don’t Love Me Anymore – Shark?

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Shark? have released a slew of excellent digital EP’s over the last few years and have finally taken their garage pop to its rightful format of vinyl. Shark? kick ass. The songs are strongly written and effortlessly delivered. The vocals soar with unique character over a band that rocks in service of the greater good. There’s no bullshit.

A-side “Hip Hop Hooray” draws you in before you even drop the needle. Is this a Naughty By Nature cover? If not, what would a rock song sound like with that title? This gem starts with gnarly chord riff then leads into the grand full-band entrance as a snake charmer of a guitar line entrances, the bass rips under the bellow like a speedboat cutting through turbulent surf, and the drums rumble insistent on getting you out of your seat. Then Kevin Diamond modestly unleashes his vocal prowess. This guy can sing. His voice is full and strong while having that tinge of something a little strange and alien that sets it apart from your average bro crooner.

The B-side competes with the A-side. It may even beat it. If the A-side finds Diamond urging his love interest to own up to their feelings and run away with him, side B shows our hero accepting she’s lost that loving feeling. He plainly mulls over the relationship carnage with muted power. We’ve all been there, and Diamond paints it simply and perfectly. It’s understated yet speaks the whole story.

“Paramour” finds the band lying back during the verses, allowing the vocal to meditate over a propulsive rhythm section. The choruses explode with instrumental interplay. As the song closes, Diamond shows his bird can sing as he unleashes the true power of a howl, belting, “See me hidden in the shadows!” The hair on your forearms salute. Buy a copy of this very limited run before they’re all gone.