With a name befitting their sound, Shark Week heads to the beach with copious amounts of fuzz, reverb and punk posturing in tow.
As their name would suggest, Washington D.C.’s Shark Week have a decidedly beach-y vibe, cut through with a tone more menacing than carefree. It’s that sense of dread at what might be lurking just out of sight that informs their lyrics of heartache and regret, all shrouded in a highly stylized form of surf-informed garage rock. While their sound apes the spirit of the beach, its punk noir and spaghetti western underpinnings help make this more than a reductive exercise in genre experimentation. It’s a hybridization that largely feels more natural than forced.
But not everything works. On the slow “Scratching Post”, with its intro a clear approximation of “Heroin”, vocalist Ryan Hunter Mitchell does his best poor man’s Lou Reed. Clearly set up as an affecting moment, his clunky non-sequitors and basic rhyme scheme construction cause the song to fall flat. Fortunately, the majority of the album favors the band’s strong suit in faster, more punk-informed tracks that rely more on aggression than lyrical nuance. “Weekend” in particular is a standout, sounding like Richard Hell fronting a surf combo. Far from perfect, Beach Fuzz is an enjoyable release from a band who’s clearly having a good time having a bad time.