Sharks’ third album: but do they still have that bite?
17th December 2016
Title: Killers of the Deep
Label: 3Ms Music
When the original debut album, First Water, appeared from this band in 1973, it was fronted by Stephen ‘Snips’ Parsons, Chris Spedding on guitar, Marty Simon on drums and Andy Fraser on bass. With Fraser at the heart of the original band, he of the Free/All Right Now association, this line up did sound like an off-shoot from Free successor, Bad Company. The entire group was held together by the guitar of Spedding while Fraser’s song-writing skills demanded attention.
Snips became more of a songwriting force for the follow-up, Jab It in Yore Eye (1974), as Fraser waved goodbye to the combo and then added Busta Cherry Jones on bass with keyboardist Nicky Judd giving the band added focus. The Bad Company comparison remained, though. It was also more blues like and less glam rock in tone. Then the group broke up.
It’s taken a while but the group are now back for an official third outing Parsons is back alongside Spending while Judd remains on keys. Ex-Sex Pistol, Paul Cook is on the drums now while Tosh Ogawa is on bass. Despite the band maturing in age (the press release reminds us that the band’s total age is 297 years) I must to say that I was mightily impressed.
I’m frankly fed up of band reformations sounding like a bad joke, a pastiche and a sad cloning of the original. This one? This band has a steady groove. It’s funky and bluesy and chugs along at a steady pace. Also, the band are not afraid. I don’t get any sense of, “Is this ok? Do you still like us?”, there’s no sense of trying too hard, there’s a definite feel that the band are relaxed and happy to roll along. They also don’t sound as though they are here to prove anything. Finally, and most importantly, the song-writing quality is good. Even the simple lyric structures fit neatly into a compatible arrangement.
Top quality songs, well played and confidently presented. This is rock with a soft blues edge and funky vibe. Like a carefully nurtured vintage 57 Mustang that looks and sounds great: you don’t want to push it, even though you know that the power is there. You’re happy how it sounds and you’re happy to go along for the ride. So, just point this album at the horizon and roll with it.