Bloodline (Manifest Music)
Los Angeles hard rockers Shark Island might not be the first name on your lips when considering the ’80s Sunset Strip scene, yet the band released some incredible music in that decade. Albums such as S’Cool Buss (’86) and Law of the Order (’89) didn’t capture the mainstream imagination and get heavy MTV play to the same degree that the likes of Warrant and Poison achieved, but fans of that music who heard them generally liked them a lot and the latter album in particular remains an underrated gem.
It was just a matter of getting their music out there, which was easier said than done in a saturated market back then. A couple of key soundtracks — Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Point Break — helped their cause, but by the start of the new millennium frustration got the better of them and they pretty much vanished.
Fast-forward to 2013 and singer Richard Black assembled a new lineup of the band and started gigging. Vitally, those ranks now include former Life Sex & Death/AntiProduct/Little Caesar/etc, etc man Alex Kane, also a current member of Enuff Z’nuff. Kane is a noted songwriter and producer who has worked with all of the surviving Ramones as well as a list of names as long as the average arm — he’s in demand because the man knows his shit. And he plays guitar and works the decks on this all-new Shark Island album, Bloodline.
So it’s no surprise that this album is good. What is perhaps surprising is just how good it is. Because it’s a hard rock beast. “Make a Move” kicks it off — a driving, unrelenting, rumbling monster. “Fire in the House” keeps that momentum rolling forward, and then there’s a surprise cover of Depeche Mode’s “Policy of Truth” that should be terrible but isn’t at all — the band manages to make the song their own.
“Aktion Is” sounds like the Sweet gone sci-fi and then, what the fuck, is that a hint of Queensryche in “7 Tears?” And how’s “Rocks on the Rocks” for an on-the-nose song title?
There’s a lot to get your teeth into — tech heads will revel in just how filled out these tracks are. Lush and beautifully orchestrated — simple, rough hard rock this isn’t. But the spirit of old Shark Island is there, and that’s something to celebrate.