Joe Gideon and the Shark - Harum Scarum

There is, I believe, some kind of strange ley line that connects Screaming Lord Sutch and The Fall to newer acts like The Brute Chorus and now, Joe Gideon and the Shark in that they use the trappings of rock 'n' roll to create a uniquely British take on the format without falling into lazy retroisms. There are no Chuck Berry licks or stand-up basses here, but the rhythms and primal energies spell out the rock and the roll in blood and sweat.

The two person, brother and sister line-up employed herein obviously suggests comparisons to the family White, but the music here is less bluesy, relying on bass-heavy riffs that ocassionally have a soulful edge. The key element is Mr Gideon himself, as he TESTIFIES! in engaging monologues that suggest Nick Cave reading aloud the collected works of Jarvis Cocker. We join our narrator on a heady trip "to learn the ways of man" that involves crystal meth and selling shoes in Debenhams ('Civilisation') and learn the story of 'Kathy Ray' ("a backup singer for Eurythmics / Live Aid 1985"). 'Hide & Seek' is schoolboy Lord of the Flies.

The album loses some momentum towards the end as the basic format begins to wear, but there's something interesting happening here that will find an audience among those with a penchant for the literary and strange.



out of 10
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