It sure seems like the first decade of the new millennium for heavy music has been devoted to the concept record. Judas Priest have released Nostradamus, Coheed and Cambria unleashed their fantasy novel come to life called The Amory Wars and Mastodon tipped their hands as readers with their Moby Dick homage Leviathan. Akimbo are no strangers to a concept their own selves. Their 2006 release City Of The Stars was an homage to Tycho Brahe, but this time around they keep up with Mastodon and their aquatic leanings by releasing the ominous titled Jersey Shores. It’s an interesting choice of titles for a Seattle band. One wonders what their motivation is: A Springsteen homage, maybe? Perhaps some Southside Johnny favorites sullied Akimbo style?
Nope. While the music is influenced by the idyllic beaches of Garden State, there are leanings darker than the boardwalk coming from the Akimbo camp. Jersey Shores is revolves around the slew of shark attacks that took place on said shores in the Summer of 1916. Not content to only attack seaside beaches, there were also a rash of attacks in nearby freshwater rivers, prompting the Jersey locals to go absolutely batshit for a time. It was a momentous enough event that Peter Benchley used the attacks as the basis for his book Jaws.
While Benchley used it for books, Akimbo have used those shark attacks to formulate six face-ripping tunes that sound like a boogie-rock Melvins. Aaron Walters is the most recent six-string addition to the core of Jon Weinewski and Nat Damm and he seems to be equally comfortable throwing down on the heavy stuff and laying back with the quiet atmospheric passages. While this is his second record with team Akimbo, it was actually recorded in the same three-week Kentucky session with Chris Owens from Lords as their previous release Navigating The Bronze. It seems a natural progression, even if the records were recorded concurrently.
Jersey Shores does a good job mixing the light and the dark. There are slower, sludgily parts, but when Akimbo settle into a groove like the one driving Great White Bull, they level everything in their path. After a dalliance with Mr. Biafra and the good folk of Alternative Tentacles, Jersey Shores is on Neurot, at the behest of the dark lords themselves, Neurosis. If you know anything about Von Till & Co., they aren’t signing crap, and having done the research myself (I enter into evidence Accept’s “Fast As A Shark”, B.O.C and “Shooting Shark”, Municipal Waste and “Terror Shark”) I can heartily concur that Sharks + Metal = Good Times. Just watch out for dorsal fins.