Shark Toys - Labyrinths LPIn The Red
“Whether you know it or not, Shark Toys are one of the best bands in LA…and they have been for quite some time. I think the Urinals would agree and now they can finally call them labelmates. Their first single came out back in 2009, but Labyrinths is a far more developed record than that or any of their subsequent releases. Gone are most of Danny Clodfelter’s former band members, but not because of some Mark E. Smith-type drama. The turnover is more likely due to nearly a decade passing and life happening. That said, this current line-up is by far the strongest.
“Drummer Emanuel Farias and bass-man Bill Gray (formerly of The Mae Shi, Man’s Assassination Man, and a million other Smell bands) are one of the tightest rhythm sections in 21st century post-punk. They allow Clodfelter to do what he does best: thrash and wail all over his Fender six string. His angular guitar attack is well informed (by thousands of obscure punk and post-punk records) and executed (albeit after no more or less than three beers) and Gray and Farias hold it down so effectively, one might make the incorrect assumption that they’re playing sober.
“This album at times reminds one of Weirdo Rippers-era No Age on Tyvek uppers. There’s an occasional sax skronk, piano plink-plunk, and the spare synth squiggle here and there, but more often than not it’s a batch of four-on-the-floor pogo-friendly numbers that will have even the most jaded message board lurkers rethinking what the Los Angeles underground has to offer. Shark Toys are proof-positive that the local scene is a hell of a lot deeper than the LA River.” —Lance Barresi / Permanent Records