Shark Island have already paid their dues, written what should have been hits, and established a sound that is just as good or better than the bands that inspired them, and now, decades later, finally, give us a two way mirror into the rawness of their creative prowess with their newly released tracks, “Fire In The House” and “Crazy Eights”, which feel heavy and hypnotic, transformative and melodic. But for the uninitiated, to understand the importance and longevity of Shark Island, we should start at the very beginning. The melodic rock band Shark Island, started out simply as Sharks in 1979 – founded by singer Richard Black and guitarist Spencer Sercombe.
They independently released their album titled “Alter-Ego” in 1982, not long before becoming one of the most sought after and exciting live acts around Los Angeles, in an era where there were literally hundreds of bands playing the Sunset Strip. Another album, called “S’cool Buss”, soon followed, while the band had reached an apex in their live performances, doing 2-4 appearances nightly, and taking ‘residency’ at several SoCal clubs. Shark Island, hooked up a development deal with the A&M record label, but Black’s creative vision would eventually lead to them parting ways. An agreement with Epic Records followed.
Around this time the band’s music had also appeared on movie soundtracks, including the critically acclaimed “Point Break”. Upon releasing their album “Law of the Order”, Shark Island headed out on a national tour, followed by a series of sold out live shows in the US, Europe and Japan.
But the grunge scene had begun to take over, forcing Epic Records to change their focus. In 2006 Manifest Music prompted Shark Island to record the album “Gathering of the Faithful”, and in 2018 they again teamed up with the band, this time with a focused game-plan for the future. That future would be the band’s upcoming “BLOODLINE” album.
Now consisting of Richard Black on vocals, Alex Kane and Damir Simic on guitars, Alen Frjlak on drums and returning Shark Island member Christian Heilmann on bass, with credit also being given to Marko Karacic on bass, Shark Island have released two singles – “Fire In The House” and “Crazy Eights” – both to be featured on the aforementioned album.
Right from the first listen to “Fire In The House”, you can tell this will be played a lot. It is a must listen for any Shark Island fan of prior material, but also for those who never gave the band a real chance, they should start right here. It’s a hungry sounding, heavy, yet totally melodic experience.
You can tell the band took their time on this one, while going straight for the jugular. While keeping the refinement of songwriting earned with experience and a long list of amazing releases and performances, Shark Island encapsulate a raw edge within their music. The kind of live sounding vitality you hardly find on modern rock recordings anymore.
The track kicks off full force, with driving riffs and a pounding, steady mid-tempo beat, in support of the powerful throaty vocals and epic sounding harmonies on the choruses. Rock radio should be lining up to fill their playlists with this one, no doubt.
A band that can cater to those that enjoy hearing catchy tunes on the radio, but also those that love the unabashedly and unrelentingly heavy rock music that this collective somehow keeps fresh, is a rare occurrence. “Crazy Eights” confirm that Shark Island, is an exception to the rule. With impacting, head-bobbing riffs and big, shrieking choruses, the band cut through the arrangement with a raw and ragged rock sound that is laser sharp in its execution.
These songs are as loud, catchy, and vital as anything Shark Island has ever done. Forty years down the line Richard Black and Shark Island have outlasted, and now with the upcoming “BLOODLINE” album, are finally ready to eclipse, many of their contemporaries in terms of artistic integrity, career longevity, and musicianship. In an age where bands seem to come and go that’s a special achievement in itself.
For more information on Shark Island, Visit their website at www.sharkislandmusic.com