Shark SandwichFeatured review by: UG Team, on april 01, 2014 10 of 11 people found this review helpful
Sound: Shit sandwich
Yes, UG did just print that. You're welcome Nigel.
Even though that's really all there is to describing this album, I fear I must forge on to avoid plagiarism. Therefore, I guess I'll go on and give the standard review shtick.
Spinal Tap is a band famous mostly for the periods of radical change they've gone through; managing to radically change genres to match the popular music of the time, yet still sound good. Why, all the way back to their hit "Gimme Some Money" as The Flower People, they rocked the world. But then their drummer, the legendary Joe Pepys, died in a bizarre gardening accident and his replacement died soon after in an incident which involved him choking on somebody else's vomit. The unfortunate demises of these vital band members has led to Spinal Tap having three drummers in as many months. I'd feel afraid for the new drummer, but hey, he has the law of averages on his side. Besides, Spinal Tap drummers have run out of ways to creatively die (and it's not like the new one could just spontaneously combust, or something).
Due to this unfortunate shuffling of drummers, Spinal Tap's latest offering is a predictable mess. It literally stinks. It stinks so bad that I put raw fish on top of it to stem the stench. Aside from the fetid odor, the music stinks too. The music is so bad that a friend of mine fainted while listening to it and had to be revived by Lil Wayne's rock album, and he then ended up saying how good the Lil Wayne album was. By the end of my listen, I felt like eating a shark sandwich. But I'll get a little more specific.
First, the album cover. I've never seen something so ridiculous. Why, with this insensitivity to the plight of endangered sharks, you'd think that next they'd make an album called "Smell the Glove" or something where they disgrace the struggle for gender equality. Oh well, I guess your album cover can't be that painful when your band is named Spinal Tap to begin with.
On to more tangible matters. The music makes no sense. For one, it doesn't even mention sharks. Moreover, in their attempt to adapt to the times as they always do, Spinal Tap writes music that is solidly in the death-blood-core-slaughter-carcass-core genre (at this point, I'm wishing that disco hadn't died; a disco Spinal Tap album wouldn't be nearly as painful as this). In fact, Tap is so talented at adapting to this genre that lead singer David St. Hubbins, sings at a pitch so low that his vocals are only audible to elephants. Heck, lead guitarist Nigel Tufnel even found a way to adapt his live violin-rapes-guitar routine to the studio, though even the most dim-witted fan could see how said routine would fit right into the aforementioned genre. Lastly, in their effort to up the ante for this album, both Tufnel and St. Hubbins had Marshall build plexi amps with an additional knob for gain, something not included on the traditional model. And, to keep with the genre, they made the gain knob go to, you guessed it, twelve. Of course, the new drummer wanted to get in on this radical fun too, so he took the idea of using only basses on "Big Bottom" and replaced his entire drumset with only bass drums. Of course, this drummer can now hit more bass drums in one song than every death metal band can combined.
As I alluded to before, such an effort to go over the top, results in a cacophony of sound that is as incomprehensible as "Jazz Odyssey" and as disappointing as the band's live rendition of "Stonehenge." The guitars buzz with such piercing cries that I wonder whether the discordant sounds are caused by the high gain or just guitars with the action set dangerously low. To highlight the bone-crushing amount of bass buzz on this album, Derek Smalls, the bassist of the band and its most sane member, actually plays the highest-pitched parts of the songs on his double neck bass. // 1
Lyrics: Not to be outdone by the drummer's bevy of bass drums, David St. Hubbins, as I mentioned before, is supposed to sing at such a low pitch that only elephants can hear his voice. Therefore, I will mercifully give the vocals a 5 on the basis that there is no conclusive evidence that the rate of suicide among elephants has risen in the days since the album's release.
In fact, in a way, these vocals are the saving grace of the album because their non-presence will probably be an immediate turn off for fans and newcomers alike, allowing these listeners to spare themselves the hearing damage I just endured in the name of fair and honest journalism.
Lyrically, I don't see how Spinal Tap could get any better, even if I could hear the vocals. With staple lyrics such as "working on a sex farm" and "lick my love pump baby" I don't see how Spinal Tap could peak higher. Therefore, I will assume that the band has written lyrics that scream bloody murder (to match the album's genre) in just as creative a way as the previous lyrics espoused love from one person to another. // 5
Overall Impression: The only reason I am not giving this album 1s across the board is because I want to reserve that judgment for Spinal Tap's next album, should it stoop lower than this one.
"Shark Sandwich," an album that stretches the limits of the sound spectrum, should only be heard by the most extreme of listeners. In all seriousness, if you value your eardrums, beware. This album is out to get you. It is out to bludgeon you in the head, wrap you in tissue paper, and toss you out of an airplane over a certain house in California where a certain pop sensation will heave eggs at you. // 2