Chicago based artist Cody Knauer aka Sharkorama stuns on the heartfelt ode to 90s indie rock pop with the pitch-perfect “Wicked Machine”. There is a sense of nervous swagger about it, for the hyper-articulate lyricism works wonders alongside the playfully strange arrangements. A wide variety of twists and turns define the songs, for they have a loose, lo-fi aesthetic to them. With a deep understanding of rock’s history, Sharkorama mines this knowledge and places it alongside wry observational humor for a sound that is quite charming. Rhythms have a mellowed atmosphere about them, and the riffs that adorn much of it have a joyous attitude about them. Nothing overstays its welcome for these pieces are kept to the essentials for a style that has a timelessness to it.
The influences abound throughout the whole of the album. On the lo-fi kick, they tap into the spirit of early Guided By Voices, for there’s that same adoration for a raw, gritty, earnestness. Jokes race through, and their sense of humor works perfect for their underdog stories. Various rhythms and grooves recall a bit of Sebadoh’s first albums, as there is a delicate vulnerable side to what they do. Humor is an important part of the whole album, for music geeks will appreciate the subtle nods to the Beatles, Guns N’Roses, and a whole bunch of other bands thrown into the mix, referenced with pure love.
On the opener “Topic of Conversation” they introduce their droll wit, for the song unfurls at its own pace. Fuzzed-out in a delirious din comes the hazy atmosphere of “Wicked Machine”. Delicate to its core “When Will I Stop” has tremendously powerful wordplay. Going for an intimate approach “Don’t Trust the Warden” has a fire behind it. Rhythms have a loose, giddy attitude on the thoughtful and wonderfully titled “The Dishwasher Sound Like Bob Seger”. Sounding like a long-lost Red House Painters demo is the gentle demeanor of “Some Days I Feel Like Pete Best”. Things are held together by twine on the spirited “All My Favorite Bands”. With a reflective stance the meditative finale of “Warwick” brings it all to a close.
“Wicked Machine” has a wide-eyed kindness to it, for Sharkorama has truly lived this life of passion for music and it shows.