Freakish… Unravels with each listen

Review: Joe Gideon & The Shark – Freakish

Published on January 9th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams

Oddball brother and sister rockers release delightfully oddball second album following in the wake of support slots with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, one which deserves to make them many new friends despite Joe Gideon’s slightly overindulged propensity for spoken word sections.

“Fans of The Fall, perchance?” you might find yourself asking after a grin-inducingly scuzzy opening couple of tracks (“I was in my dressing gown, but not in a good way” informs Joe) and at this point it’s hard to know whether or not to be irritated or enthralled. Then “Poor Born” welcomes in the sunshine with some ace harmonising vocoders, and Freakish goes from strength to strength.

The gently bonkers “The Insignifcant Bullet” has a lovely sunny strut to it match its silly organ and  Flaming Lips-ily drum-crashing breakdown, the superbly titled “You, The Pole and The Rastafarian” wields a Stephen Malkmus-y sort of pleasure while apparently referencing Brixton and Gospel Oak in its lyrics (or are we hearing things?), while “Nine Bells” manages to remain pleasingly melodic through its tangential course, peculiar gait and novel, verging-on-Half-Man-Half-Biscuit lines like “I lost 21-10 to my brother-in-law / There is no cure”.

“Higher Power/Where Have All the Good Times Gone” treats us to some nicely toasted rock and roll, the title track an epic White Light/White Heat-y stomp that chuffs along, letting off steam and keeping a steady supply line of surrealist touches (“An alarming interest in temples and locusts / Pressing a little too hard on a goldfish”)…before “Friday 13” brings proceedings to a close by laying playful synth and a luxurious Shark vocal on some kind of monged digi-“Be My Baby”.

At times it feels like Joe Gideon & The Shark could do with more lashings of colour to accentuate the occasionally unfulfilled melodic potential of their songs, but there’s sufficient joy to be found in Freakish for this to be a somewhat churlish gripe.

Rocksucker says: Three and a Half Quails out of Five!

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Freakish is out now on Bronze Rat Records. For more information, please visit www.joegideonandtheshark.com

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About the Author

Editor of Rocksucker and the website's founder, Jonny is passionate about the music he listens to, both good and bad, as well as interviewing his favourite musicians.