By Adam McGrath
It’s been a big week for Shark Tape, the post-college rock trio that has been circling success for the past few years. Bassist and vocalist Stephen Lorek, guitarist Niles Weiss, and drummer Dylan Mulcahy played a sold-out Free at Noon session at World Cafe Live just days before their first LP, Marathon, finally burst into the world. Lorek sounded simultaneously excited and exhausted on the phone the night before the release.
“It has been a big week,” Lorek agrees with a sigh. “Radio and in-store performances, and here we are just in front of our first LP. Who knows what the hell’s gonna happen?”
One thing that’s sure to happen is a kick-ass album release show at MilkBoy Saturday night. This show promises to be the culmination of a years-long process that began when XPN first spun “Eyes on You” in 2012. While working with producers Jeff Zeigler (War on Drugs) and Phil Nicolo, Marathon slowly took shape. But as is often the case, the songs that stuck were the ones that sparked organically during recording.
“The [songs] that come out of nowhere tend to stick with you,” Lorek explains, “and the ones that you labor over get tossed to the curb at the end. That’s what this record was; we threw out everything we worked on.”
Opening track “Bronco” was one of those songs that happened completely in the rehearsal space. “We just plugged our instruments in, and it hit us like a lightning bolt,” Lorek describes. “All the lyrics, all the parts, were written right there on the spot.”
This organic creativity comes through nicely on Marathon, with most of the tracks taken live and only a few things doubled up here or there. Classic rock influences rub shoulders with more diverse styles throughout the album. Title track “Marathon” hearkens back to stadium-fillers like Cheap Trick, while “River Runs Deep” evokes 80s synth-pop a la The Cure.
While things seem poised to break big for Shark Tape, Lorek is taking nothing for granted. “I’m kind of a spiritual person, in that I do buy into the idea that you can manifest your own destiny,” he confesses. “We did a whole lot of work in the dark for a long time, but I found the more I focused on the music, the writing, the performance, that’s when the recognition comes. I think if you focus on the quality of the art, the rest falls into place.”
That philosophy seems to be working so far for Shark Tape, so let’s hope this independent release leads to bigger and better things for the band. At the least, we’ll have one hell of a party Saturday night.