Review: Sharks and Sailors – Builds Brand New

Label: self-released

Released: August 1, 2008

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, so the physicists say. You cannot effectively defend your position without understanding the opposition, so the orators say. You cannot know up without down, dark without light, good without evil, so the philosophers say. Ours is in many ways a world defined and understood in terms of opposing forces.

Sharks and Sailors understands this. The very fiber of Builds Brand New is built around this concept. It is these opposites, contrasts if you will, that are the texture of the music: sweet melodies versus grating noise, ambient fluidity versus sharp angles, technical skill versus emotional release. While this is a fine technique, it is hardly unique in and of itself. But there is another wrinkle to Sharks and Sailors: They don’t use these opposing forces against each other as a means of creating tension. Instead, they are more like yin and yang, forces spinning around the Taoist center of the overall album.

They have clearly taken a few lessons from the Smashing Pumpkins in their prime, but these songs voice something more cerebral than Gen X brattiness. “Metes and Bounds” stretches out so far that it feels epic as it alternates between sharp art-punk angles and airy prog spaceiness. It manages to compress time almost, concentrating what should be a 20 minute opus into six minutes. It is like the ocean dripping into the dew drop. And that’s how this album goes, wide and expansive, yet it would nearly fit onto one side of a 90 minute tape (for those of us who remember those days).

Without getting into the realm of the nearly unlistenable, Builds Brand New manages to find an unturned patch of ground in rock music. What they’ve sown there is both musically and philosophically compelling.

Satriani 7/10
Zappa 9/10
Dylan 8/10
Aretha 8/10
Overall 8/10



If you’re curious about my rating categories, read the description.

About bobvinyl

bobvinyl, writer and co-editor of No Song is an Island, founded its predecessor, Rock and Roll and Meandering Nonsense (whose archives are found here), in 2005 and served as editor and principal contributor until it went on hiatus in 2010. He has also been published in AMP and Loud Fast Rules! (in print) as well as Glide and FensePost on the web. He has been an avid record collector since he was seven years old and enjoys sharing his love of music from the common to the esoteric.

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