Monday, April 16, 2018

CD Review:
Shark Toys
(In The Red)

$10 for CD, $17 for LP // //

When I first heard Shark Toys it was because of a split record they did with UV-TV and ever since I have been a fan.    While their split 7" was a sampling of what they can do, "Labyrinths" leaves no questions unanswered as it is a balls-to-the-wall punk rock n roll album full of music your parents might like.   Not my parents because they were hippies, but I assume maybe you're younger than me and your parents grew up with Sex Pistols and Ramones, but who really knows how old anyone is when time is relative.

Upon first listening to "Labyrinths" I heard elements of Pennywise, but their older stuff and as I really thought about it I figured out a lot of that influence to me was in the vocals and it came from the Pennywise song "Don't Care/Live Fast, Die Young", which is a cover of a Black Flag song that appears on the 1996 Epitaph compilation called "Bored Generation".    The sing-along punk style also reminds me of older Epitaph bands and as always my knowledge of "Punk-O-Rama" compilations doesn't extend past the third one.

As the songs go on I begin to hear a song by the chorus- which is also the title of the song- and it's called "Drink, Drank, Drunk".   I can't remember the artist but can remember it was on the Five Years on the Street compilation from Vagrant Records way back in the day.  I looked it up and that band was called The Gotohells (If you told me members of The Gotohells were currently in Shark Toys I'd believe you) but a few of the other more obvious bands on that compilation also remind me of Shark Toys (*not* Blink 182, MxPx and others which do not make sense)

Side B kicks off with the song "Maze" which has the chorus "I'm stuck in a maze / I'm stuck in a labyrinth", which finally brings out the David Bowie movie inspired title (I assume).   I also hear the song "Confusion" sing "I don't know where I am" and it just reminds me of Guttermouth.   "Confusion" continues to crank through with a sax for the first time and brings out a lot of "I don't know what you want to do with your life" and somewhat similar ideas which, does anyone know what they want to do with their life? (I just wanna live)

"Labyrinths" has two sides to it because it is available on vinyl so it's nice the CD tells us where it breaks in half as well.   (As far as I know, it is not on cassette *sad emoji*) There was a time (check the earlier references) when I was big into punk rock and then shit like Fall Out Boy and Sum 41 became "punk rock".  I mean, yes, there was a time when Hot Topic sold items which were "punk" and in some ways they still might (I don't know I don't go there) but I kind of dropped out of the punk scene in the early '00's because it all went to shit.   "Labyrinths" is one of the best punk albums of the 21st century and you can quote me on that.

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