Letâ€™s see: the bandâ€™s name is Cuddly Shark
, the self-titled album cover depicts a dog seemingly dying from either heatstroke or boredom (perhaps both) and there are song titles such as â€˜The Punisher of IV30â€™ and â€˜Instru-Mentalist.â€™ A cursory glance of the Glasgow trio suggests that Cuddly Shark
isnâ€™t to be taken too seriously, or at all. Never mind the name. Put all of that aside, though, because the lyrics top everything else. Take â€˜What Goes Around,â€™ for example: â€œI threw away my dad, my daughter and brother/ The only way we talk is through our lawyers/ Thatâ€™s the kind of shallow person I am/ What goes around comes around.â€ Or how about the cover of Hoyt Axtonâ€™s â€˜Boney Fingersâ€™ with the deliciously absurd chorus, â€œWork your fingers to the bone/ What do ya get?/ Boney fingers.â€ They didnâ€™t write it, granted, but what other song could this band have chosen?That said, â€˜Woody Woodpeckerâ€™ suggests that the band isnâ€™t solely interested in making you guffaw. The lyrics detail a failed relationship, with the narratorâ€™s ex labeling him â€œa dick [he doesnâ€™t] wanna be.â€ That would certainly point to the band wanting to be taken seriously, if only for a song or two. But then the song ends with, â€œNow youâ€™re acting funny when youâ€™re hanging with me/ Woody Woodpecker pecking on a tree/ standing in the kitchen going â€˜peck peck peck peck peck peck.â€™ On one level, itâ€™s silly. Yet, on another itâ€™s quite brilliant â€“ itâ€™s a satirical take of how preposterous relationships can be, and, in the case of the endless stream of peckâ€™s, how irritating a partner can be. This band, and its sense of humor, is smarter than it appears on the surface.The song structures hint at intelligence, too. They range from front-loaded Zeppelin punkers like â€˜The Sheriff of Aspen Bayâ€™ and â€˜Bowl of Cherriesâ€™ to acoustic, country-tinged numbers such as (the first half of) â€˜Woodpeckerâ€™ and the aforementioned â€˜Boney Fingers.â€™ Then thereâ€™s the pair of songs that donâ€™tâ€™ really fit in either category. Thatâ€™s not to say they donâ€™t belong on the record, itâ€™s just that theyâ€™re different. â€˜Whiteoaksâ€™ is an indie pop tune which contains a melody that sounds like something Green Day would write if Billie Jo didnâ€™t try to be so damn socially relevant all the time. The other song of the pair, â€˜Shakey Baby,â€™ starts out as a straight-up indie rock track, then becomes a staccato-fueled rant before returning to its sideways guitar melody. Itâ€™s one of many seamless transitions the band makes that throw you off (in a good way) upon the first spin. The most ridiculous track (read: the most entertaining) is the fifty-one second â€˜Jamie Foxx on Later With Jools Hollandâ€™ which finds the band banging on its instruments with a surge of hyper-determination while â€œI heard you sing the worst song I ever heardâ€ â€“ presumably aimed at Mr. Foxx â€“ is repeated. While the song may be tongue-in-cheek, by the end it doesnâ€™t matter because youâ€™re convinced the lyric isnâ€™t a personal opinion, but a scientific fact.Admittedly, I know very little â€“ that is, nothing â€“ about Cuddly Sharkâ€™s hometown of Glasgow. Thus, I cannot with any intelligence comment on what effect the Glasgow music scene has on CSâ€™s sound. Or, for that matter, if Glasgow even has a scene particular to it. However, what I can say is that, at least from an American perspective, the band isnâ€™t following any current trend. Yes, itâ€™s atavism but is thankfully not connected to the post-punk revival. The members of CS clearly worship â€˜70s hard rock and punk, specifically Zep and the Pistols. Simply stated, the band wants its fans to remember when rock was fun. Remember fun? The effect of this is to give the album a throwback charm utterly refreshing in a way that revisiting Joy Division doesnâ€™t.