Album Review: Sharkmuffin, ‘Chartreuse’
There are plenty of pop rock bands flooding local scenes, but there aren't too many that match the dark, visceral energy of Brooklyn's Sharkmuffin. The female duo's own exciting brand of garage-influenced proto-punk is reminiscent of Sleater-Kinney and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs with an even catchier melodic edge. Comprised of guitarist Tarra Theissen (vocals-guitar) and Natalie Kirch (vocals-bass), the two have previously released a pair of EP’s, as well as a self-titled 7”, and now they finally bring us their most excellent 10-track debut LP Chartreuse, due out on August 7 via State Capitol/Little Dickman Records.
The title track is probably the record's most pop-sounding song, except for maybe "Mondays," and both have choruses that succeed in becoming true earworms after first listen. The album's lead single, "First Date," features drummer Patty Schemel, foormerly of Hole. It certainly carries the same razor-sharp intensity yet warm aura of a classic Hole track with its rich, noisy and undeniably electric riffs. "Straight Lines" slows things down a bit before "Secrets" picks it right back up with its screeching guitar solos and turns. The entire record possesses the energy of the Williamsburg music scene and transforms it into into a sound that anyone could get behind. There's the song with the crude title: "Tampons Are For Sluts," but it has a very rocking, Nirvana-esque vibe to it. And a lot of records will close out with a slow, softer track, but Chartreuse does not. The final track, "I Called You From The Moon" is the harshest song with scratchy and intense vocals that are as dark as the band's eyeshadow. Its fuzzed-out sendoff leaves you recovering from as wonderfully sharp of an audio experience as one could encounter in 2015.
If a fresh and invigoratingly new garage punk record is what you're looking for, then you're in luck. If Chartreuse and its brilliantly melodic yet jagged hooks are any indication of Sharkmuffin's finely developed path, the scene can expect another ring leader real soon. Maybe they'll even roll out that Ben & Jerry's blend of their own that they've been quite vocal about over the past year or so. They certainly aren't messing around. Every facet of the record is well-written, cleanly produced and pleasantly executed overall. It's sure to tickle your musical pleasure center, so feel free to get pumped.