By: Hope Ankney
There’s something entrancing and truly sensational about the experience of a great live performance. It’s the type of gig that leaves one reeling over it for days after, waiting for any opportunity to bring the show up to anyone who will listen and allow them to relive the energy and emotional high they felt. That’s what is to be imagined when one dives into Gainesville-based, pop-punk band Shark Anatomy’s In Shallow Waters. The first thirty seconds of the EP will, easily, allow you to envision the hyperactive and invigorating atmosphere the band will bring to a show- a crowd full of rowdy fans crowd-surfing, screaming along to Sid Taylor’s vocals, and creating an environment that has even the most conservative concert-goer wanting to partake in the dopamine-inducing chaos.
It’s the classic, rough edges of pop-punk Shark Anatomy exudes all throughout In Shallow Waters that makes it an instant entertainer. Anyone fond of crashing drums, fast-paced rhythms, and raw-cut vocals will be satisfied with the EP and excited for the band’s future work. In Shallow Waters is unpolished. It’s raw. It’s loud. It’s strong. It’s everything needed to make a solid record in the scene.
The opener, “All I Ever Hear” is a thrashing entrance to the EP, including catchy melodies and quintessential pop-punk lyrics that are written to have the crowd scream back at the group. It’s full of top guitars and scratchy vocals, leaving no room to doubt Shark Anatomy’s purpose to the genre. The most defining lyric, “Hide back home to find someone else, to be someone new- maybe someone better, better at being alive” ends with a powerful grit as Taylor shouts the emphasis on the word alive, begging it to be a line made for crowd-hysteria.
“Some Universe” begins with a cool, 90’s alternative undertone reminiscent of Sublime before booming with turbulent instrumentals whereas “Blip” has a build to its peak. This is the token angst-fueled anthem that every great pop-punk record has. With lyrics like “To me you aren’t even a blip” and “I’m over you in every way,” it’s evident that the track chronicles the emotional tension built up after a rocky break-up. Julia Bushnell’s heavy drums are highlighted here while Taylor’s voice gets grittier and grittier as the seconds go on.
Rounding out on a more relaxing note, the closing record “Words are Hard” sounds like it was influenced by beach-rock as the primary guitar tends to be more mellow and hazy in nature with a beautifully distorted guitar solo included. The title summarizes the track’s theme as Taylor melancholily sings about the difficulties of expressing his emotions, leaving this song to tie up the EP quite nicely.
Shark Anatomy has hit their sweet spot with In Shallow Waters, creating a piece of work drenched in post-punk and pop-punk prestige. With such a solid understanding of their sound, the band will continue to be a growing favorite in the Gainesville local scene. Whether or not you’re a fan of high-energized crowds, I can guarantee their shows are a sight to see.