Sunday, 20 July 2014

Music To Listen To: Malibu Shark Attack

Malibu Shark Attack is the collaboration of Tribe One and Rocky O'Reily. What makes this a special release is that MSA are a 'tran-Atlantic' band. Tribe is in the US and Rocky is in Ireland. You would think that  it would  be hard to make an album in that circumstance but you wouldn't get that impression listening to it.
Rocky created the music, a blend of drums, guitars, bass and synths. Tribe penned the lyrics. Seems to me to be a perfect match.
I was lucky enough to be at the first MSA gig, when they toured opening for MC Lars in the UK this year. Two things were immediately apparent; 1. Tribe One has the best dance moves. 2. Tribe is a storyteller. I've liked Tribe's work for quite  a while. I first came across him after numerous collaborations with Adam Warrock. Tribe's always fascinated me. So, to me, this is an album to really get to know him by. I can't recall really hearing Tribe hype in his lyrics. I've always found him honest, someone who related hard times and the things that made him happy and the beauty of life. And this album really reflects that, I think. Stories of how Tribe quit his job. Touring with friends. How MSA came to be. Tribe's approach to music. There are comic book references. Music references. Even a song about Pulp Fiction. One of my favourite things though is the subtle shoutouts to friends, some of which are other artists that I love and admire. I've said before that the love and friendship is my favourite thing about this community. There's a lot of love on this record. Especially for the project. It sounds like all involved really enjoyed making this album and so its just a happy album!
Faster tracks Yo Into New York, BDMTHRFCKR and Plans For The Weekend will have you dancing and cheering. Slower tracks like Internal Organs, Back To The Start and The Only Thing Worse Than Failing Is Not Knowing explore more serious issues about taking chances, things that have been lost, death, time... They are really thought provoking and beautiful, a nice counterpoint to the faster tracks.

The album has some nice surprises with guest apperances from friends MC Lars, Adam Warrock, Jesse Dangerously, Kevin Steinhauser from Math the Band and even Tim Wheeler from Ash. This album also introduced to me to Bee Mick See, a great artist from Ireland. Its great to see everyone contributing something to this already impressive collaboration.

Its hard for me to catagorise this album and I think it would rob the album of something to try to. There are elements of rock in there. Tribe's rap style. There are elements of dance and electronic synthpop music. Its a nice fusion of everything Rocky has ever written or produced. He's a great writer, I really love the tracks on here and some of the work I've heard him do for other people. Its nice to see something fresh that takes that good parts of other genres and melds them. Some of my favourite parts are actually the backing vocals on some of these tracks. Its hard to get such a big sound but if you listen to Better Off As Friend the backing on that is incredible.
I play this album a lot at work and people seem to be really like it. I took a few friends to see MSA and MC Lars and they all bought this CD after the show and have been hyping like mad about it. Its easy to listen to, its got a great flow. Its heartfelt and well produced. This had to have been a labour of love, it couldn't be anything else. Rocky told me he was a Tribe fan. Tribe told me he really loved the work Rocky was sending his way. They put their hearts into this.
Listen to Better Off Friends. Rocky and Tribe were both part of other bands and this song is their way of saying 'just give us a chance'. Tribe's been writing a blog on his writing process and what he wanted to do with each song. Its really a good read. The explanation for some of the songs and lyrics are great, he also providing a little more history too.
As I said, I was really lucky to get to see Rocky and Tribe perform this album together with the help of Bee Mick See playing synth and Yellowbridge performing backing vocals. It was an incredible show. The love they clearly have for this album and what they've achieved together was evident and made these songs even more enjoyable. Having only met each other for the first time the morning of the gig I'm amazed by what they've achieved.
Tribe is touring some of these tracks with the help of his No Friends family and I'm really stoked to see how that turns out.
For now though, Tribe and Rocky this is one of my favourite albums and I really hope that you will continue to work together for some time. Album number two?


You can buy the debut album Malibu Shark Attack at http://malibusharkattack.bandcamp.com


Favourite song: Doing It Wrong
Doing It Wrong is a song that says 'be true to yourself and follow your dreams'. Tribe tells the story of changing to fit in with other people but how he ultimately grew up and made the decision to quit his job and pursue rap fulltime.

What I love about this song is that is honest. Tribe nevers says 'everything will be okay', he just says you gotta do what makes you happy regardless of other opinions. This song came along at a time when I was wondering whether to carry on writing music, to carry on at my job. It was reassuring to hear something so positive saying if you're enjoying it and you love then do it.
The music is simple but beautiful and I think is a nice highlight of the album. The same two chords throughout, Rocky chooses layers of instruments that he either adds or strips away. It doesn't distract from Tribe's message but works well with it.