Review Summary: An excellent sophomore album that deserves repeated listens.
It’s not immediately evident, but Selfhood actually represents a different Sharks than we saw on No Gods. Not drastically so, mind you, but upon repeated listens it becomes clear that there is something special about their sophomore effort. Whereas No Gods was explosive and fun, Selfhood is a bit more introspective and bleak.
Granted, the catchy riffs remain intact, but the vocals on their own are almost a different beast entirely. This isn’t a bad thing, and it’s entirely possible that some people could listen to the album without noticing, but the lyrics are certainly darker and the vocals themselves are definitely on the bleaker side of things. While No Gods kicked off with the fast strumming and raucous drumming of “’Til the Wonders Rise,” Selfhood opens with the equally fun but undoubtedly more somber title track.
One of the best things about No Gods was that just about every song had a memorable hook or two in it. This is still true, and as a result there isn’t a single track on Selfhood that sounds like filler. James Mattock’s vocals are always up to the task, and the lyrics this time around are better than on their previous releases. His vocals are somber and the lyrics aren’t exactly cheery, but he never sounds whiny, and he never sounds at odds with the instrumentals. There are enjoyable guitar riffs around every corner, and the drums always help to add energy without overpowering.
Selfhood ends on a note that is different in tone from anything on No Gods, with the slow, quiet “My Wild One” closing the album on a delightfully mellow note. The guitar is beautiful and Mattock gets to be the center of attention for a bit before the song briefly picks up and we get one last catchy hook. It’s not something that would have necessarily fit on No Gods, but it’s right at home here. It also serves as the perfect example of how Selfhood manages to sound familiar and new at the same time.