Sound — 8
Beautiful Sharks is the second full length album from Something For Kate, an alternative 3-piece-rock outfit from Melbourne, Australia. SFK have received increased mainstream attention with each release, although the impression listeners get is that this does not excite nor bother the band, who have a dedicated fan base already assembled in the Australian underground scene. Beautiful Sharks was a turning point for the band. The acquisition of new bass player Stephanie Ashworth changed the feel and look of the band, not to mention the song construction. An album of unique arrangements and ideas, the music may seem lighter than the band's debut, Elsewhere For Eight Minutes, but this is compensated for in other areas. Clint Hyndman's softer drumming approaches and the inclusion of drum loops are both signature sounds of this album, although the actual drumming arrangements are still as unique as ever. Ashworth's bass playing introduces an often tighter feel, with more gaps and quirky fills. Frontman Paul Dempsey favours a somewhat cleaner guitar sound for the majority of the record, although a second guitar playing more distorted lines in the background can be found in many of the tracks. This type of guitar work is another signature sound of the album. Beautiful Sharks offers more keyboards than the scattered placings on Elsewhere For Eight Minutes. These are played by Dempsey and are especially important on opening track Whatever You Want and the closing Photograph.
Lyrics — 7
Paul Dempsey's lyrics seem to be less angry, but more questioning. There is also a slightly more personal feel, as some songs appear to be about people and possibly relationships. But in true SFK style, the lyrics remain very open, and have become somewhat weirder on this album. Some may appear almost funny on the surface, like Big Screen Television, but when combined with the music, can become very powerful. Perhaps the most unfocused song lyrically is Easy: "I saved you the trouble, it was easy, I was dreaming of arrows, following each other around, in a dance over water, it was easy, it was great, I'll see you later". Perhaps the best lyrics on the album are found on the track with some of the best vocals: Back To You. This is an emotional song that has later been transformed to a truly great piano version, released as a B-Side.
Overall Impression — 8
Beautiful Sharks could be seen as the band's most experimental album, with the least sing-along-able choruses, but still some of their most important work. It is the bridge between the cleverly heavy Elsewhere For Eight Minutes, and the strong, detailed third album Echolalia. Some of the best songs on Beautiful Sharks are Anchorman, Back To You and Photograph, which make up the closing bracket of the album. The balance of songs is not quite as successful as the following album, Echolalia, but is still enjoyable the whole way through. The songs are still a source of setlist material for the band, which helps to keep them alive and not just part of a back catalogue.