Cuddly Shark
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Cuddly Shark

Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom | INDIE

Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom | INDIE
Band Alternative




"The Road To Ugly Album review"

Seconds out and into the ring for 12 rounds (all between two and three minutes) of energetic scrapping with this Glasgow-based trio. Watch out, though, because singer Colin Reid will hit you with a quick verbal jab when you’re least expecting it – a sharp and angry outburst thrown from behind the bite of Ruth Forsyth’s bass and the snap of Jason Sinclair’s drums. They’ll keep changing the style of their stance too. Overpriced is a pleasant pummelling from a band disguised as a junior Fugazi; Broken Arm does a knees-up at a pub piano next door to Supergrass’s Alright; Fiddley Dee is a surreal high-speed journey into Deliverance territory… if Burt Reynolds and chums had stumbled on duelling banjos somewhere north up the A9; Body Mass Index is the sound of a sugar-addicted kid on a pogo stick he’s stolen from Alex Harvey’s backyard. The referee’s decision? The Road To Ugly is more measured than the band’s 2009 eponymous debut, with better tunes and steadier feet when skipping from one genre to the next. - The Herald

"The Road To Ugly Album review"

Few bands have monikers as apt as Cuddly Shark’s; fun and loveable, but sharp in tooth. Like last year’s Body Mass Index EP and their self-titled debut before it, The Road to Ugly overflows with energy and ideas, with the Glasgow-based trio hopping genres with spiky nonchalance. Not everything fully works, but that only confirms one of the band’s most endearing traits: a refusal to play it safe.

Body Mass Index returns as bonkers as before, furnishing the album with its title and supplying its most marmite moments. Indeed, throughout the record, Colin Reid’s off-key yaps take a bit of acclimatising to (particularly the pretty fly Dexter-echoes on Pull the Finger Out), but their distinctive flavour soon convinces. Elsewhere, more straightforward numbers like My iPod Made Me Do It give a good account of the accomplished rock chops that lurk beneath the quirk, its dynamic riffage confirming the seriousness of Cuddly Shark’s abilities.

Chris Buckle - The Skinny

"The Road To Ugly Album review"

BANISH the winter blues with these Glasgow-based purveyors of instinctive, angst-free thrashy pop. Although not rocketing away at quite the helter-skelter pace of previous Cuddly Shark offerings, The Road To Ugly still delivers a spontaneous, no-strings ride. Broken Arm sounds like a slacker take on Talking Heads’ Psycho Killer and the jabbering Body Mass Index offers a quirky angle on body image (“she says I’m attractive in the wrong direction”), while country punk number The Devil In You and acoustic lament Local Hero are carried off with a sobriety which tempers the novelty appeal elsewhere.


"The Road To Ugly Album review"

Hey guys!

The sophomore album from the least cool band on the planet is really good! Cuddly Shark (whose eponymous debut I think I bought because they had ‘shark’ in their name?) hath returned on the excellent Armellodie Records (see their GFP “Favourite Five” feature here) with ‘The Road To Ugly,’ and while it doesn’t feature anything quite as Bill & Teddingly immaculate as the refrain of “I heard you sing the worst song that I ever heard!” on “Jamie Foxx on Later With Jools Holland” from the 2009 debut, it really is a perfect follow-up to that noisy pleasure.

Why do I say that Cuddly Shark are the “least cool?” well, I’m quite positive that they’re cooler than me but still, there’s no denying that this brand of Hard-Rock-with-Laughs-And-Also-Emotions went out of fashion in the 00’s with white text on black background websites and skateboarding for no reason. But frankly, it makes a nice change…this is fun, except for when it’s sad and I like both of those things in rock music. Mmm…Rock Music: Shout-Along, Stop/Start riffs (“Overpriced”), maniacal hooks (“Body Mass Index”), BASS (“Doodlebug”), chugging quiet/loud (“Trigger Happy”) and even a ‘Reservoir Dogs’ torture scene sound-alike (“Broken Arm”) …girl, they could teach you more in a three minute record than you ever learned in school.

This isn’t an album that really benefits from dissection and analysis but it’s safe to guesstimate that the Shark hover in The Wildhearts’ seriously not serious territory while periodically genre hopping their way to a Mr Bungle comparison, though they’re perhaps at their stomping best when they act as an artificial rendering of what ‘Infrared Riding Hood’ may have sounded like if Tad were from the Scotch Highlands…nasty.

Cuddly Shark have started the New Year off beautifully and while this is not going to please a lot of the people who have clung too tightly to this whole electro-ambient-vocal-pop-drone thing, it’s going to be a real treat for those who are still glad to hear a little bit of thoughtfully produced Rock and Pop. Top drawer. - Gold Flake Paint

"The Road To Ugly Album review"

Cuddly Shark are a talented three piece from the Scottish highlands who have made Glasgow their home. As well as having a superb band name, they have a good line in pop infused indie songs with great hooks and humorous lyrics. But they also have an unpretentious attitude that seems to say that they simply play the way they want to play. Yet I have a feeling that the spontaneous and, in places, hectic feel of the album is exactly what they have practiced hard to achieve.

The Road To Ugly is the band’s second album, coming after a 2009 self titled debut that received some excellent reviews. Colin Reid on guitar and vocals, Jason Sinclair on drums and Ruth Forsyth on bass guitar and vocals combine well together. The end result is a good collection of 12 songs, jammed into just 29 minutes that speeds by, and is basically damned good fun.

There are some decent tracks on The Road To Ugly. Overpriced is frantic with a great bass line to open, then a fuzzy guitar riff and a shouted chorus. My iPod Made Me Do it is probably the closest to a mainstream rock song and has a frenetic vibe to its vocals. And Pull The Finger Out features some great guitar work.

Body Mass Index, previously released as the title track of an EP, is probably the best song here. Again the bass opens the track, which tells of a lady killer who doesn’t meet with much success because “she says I’m attractive in the wrong direction”. The humour works very well and the fast paced song is delivered with real style, Reid’s pained vocals leaving the listener in a quandary about whether to sympathise with the protagonist or laugh at him.

Of the others, The Devil In You with its dark country air, stands out, as does the closing acoustic Local Hero, another with darker lyrics, this time sung with real feeling over a lo fi hum.

This isn’t the type of album that you will spend hours dissecting and looking for hidden meanings. Cuddly Shark are very good at getting their message across in a simple and straightforward manner, so it’s one to sit back and enjoy. It’s a good time sound and it works well. - Glasswerk

"The Road To Ugly Album review"

Cuddly Shark really are a bit of what you fancy, if you’re in love with the Nineties. A Glasgow residing three-piece, they’ve found a direct, no-nonsense answer to the ‘difficult second album’ conundrum – to blast out 12 tracks of gimmie-indie-rock anthemia in half an hour, convincingly.

Accordingly, ‘The Road To Ugly’ is a continuation from their self-titled debut. Colin Reid’s vocal underpins the brief, blusterous, tracks with eccentric enthusiasm and a refreshing willingness to yelp. Frank Black’s been cited as an obvious reference point but with the sheer Colin Mochrie ‘Hoe-Down’ delivery of some of the melodies, (‘The Road To Ugly’, ‘Doodlebug’) Les Claypool’s rap-attacks seem to be a happy component of Colin’s style as well.

The songs are strong, direct and brazen. There’s no sheen to the recording. It’s a three-piece, sounds like a live recording in all but the vocals and percussive overlays - and it captures the chugging well. ‘Overpriced’ constantly accelerates and pounds, the chorus simply Reid shouting “Take my advice/You’re never over-priced” over fuzzed out chords. It’s a nice step into the indie disco.

There’s acid humour here too, or maybe merely spite. ‘Broken Arm’ whips through off-kilter country guitar riffs that plateau into despair. With the lyric “You’ve got no clue/You just sit and stare/With your beady eyes/And your pubic hair/That’s somehow on your head”, the singer of the Fratellis leaps to mind... The idea of a Cuddly Shark vs Fratellis fight is appealing, though the Fratellis do look petrifying. Reid’s arsenic tongue might not be enough. Musically though, Cuddly Shark write hooks the Fratellis couldn’t attempt, ‘Fiddly Dee’ is part Delgadoes, part circus theme and as it swings into the cello and bass riff of ‘BMI’ it’s a glorious segway from accomplished arrangement into pretense-free rocking.

Cuddly Shark are clearly happy to set their stall as music for music’s sake. Three music fans playing songs that happily reference their influences and that don’t pretend to be anything else. Whereas some acts may feel a need to justify their influences with the heady parps of faux intellectualism (TOY, cough cough), others (Cuddly Shark) do not. A quick look at the video for ‘BMI’ shows pubs, garages and high streets, not calling cards for David Lachapelle or Chris Cunningham.

The Road To Ugly is a pleasingly frank stomp through the memories of the Nineties indie disco, a realm where Sonic Youth, Primus, Sebadoh, Teenage Fanclub and Pavement parlayed. Admittedly this is a US-centric set of touch points, but when you blast it all out with glee of Reid and co. where it comes from doesn’t matter. All that does matter is that this is finely crafted guitar pop doused in noise and metallic baselines. It gets the feet moving, the mane shaking and feeds plenty of earworms. It’s fantastic.

Cuddly Shark 8 / 10 - Drowned in Sound

"Cuddly Shark Album review"

Art school hillbillies is perhaps the finest description of a band we’ve heard all year and this vitriolic debut album from the Scottish trio live up to the claim, a disjointed mix of 50s rollers and 00s rockers barbed with general lyrical gnarliness. 3/5 - The List

"Cuddly Shark Album review"

Every so often in an all too stagnant music scene, there comes a record which is more than just a breath of fresh air, but is more like being shot in the face by a fireman’s hose while screaming out a recital of ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’; and, to end 2009, Cuddly Shark have created that such record. The Glaswegian three-piece are pretty much impossible to pigeon hole into a category with their music swaying from full throttle edgy punk, to slabs of country twang, with good helpings of gentle indie janglings and pop sensibilities, Cuddly Shark leaves no one out as the exciting twists and turns of the record leave you a gasp, uneasy, and wanting so much more. Opening with a frenetic ‘Bowl Of Cherries’, Colin Reid barks into the faces of all who will listen, and especially to those who refuse to do so. Cuddly Shark seem to have remembered the power of the original two/three minute pop song, but have just shoved a rock’n’roll rocket up its arse. ‘Woody Woodpecker’ really encapsulates this, fastly building a gentle rhythm of foot tapping melodies, with witty and sing-along lyrics, combined with crashing guitars and screams of joy, it is ultimately faultless. But you could say that about any song on here from ‘Instru-Mentalist’ to the musical equivalent of crack cocaine, ‘Shakey Baby’. Their Weezer-meets-Pixies-meets-Fugazi music practically holds no limits, as proven in their stupidly awesome cover of Hoyt Axeton’s ‘Boney Fingers’ which just seems to come out of nowhere, much like everything else on the album. You will not know what type of song will be next to charge out of the speakers, from the incredible slice of punk ‘The Sheriff Of Aspen Bay’, or the 52 second long ‘Jamie Foxx On Later With Jools Holland’ which simply contains the lyrics “I heard you sing the worst song I ever heard”, and promptly ends. But these guys aren’t pretentious; they simply play and execute a joy in their music many seem to have forgotten about. It’s so simple, and yet so exciting. To put it straight forward, Cuddly Shark have reminded me why I love music. - Bearded Magazine

"Cuddly Shark Album review"

After casually tossing off two of the finest singles of this year in Woody Woodpecker and The Sheriff of Aspen Way, Cuddly Shark raised hopes for their debut long-player. I am more than happy to report that said album contains more high-quality, low-fidelity punches against the seemingly-endless tide of bland tripe most iTunes store zombies seem more than happy to fork out for. The band may have to pull the staples from such meaningless-muso labels as ‘indie’, ‘punk’ or ‘punk indie’, ‘indie punk’ or ‘Scottish’ but I’m sure this will only serve to sharpen their riffs and lyrical bile. And if a certain Mr. Holland had a genuine regard for new music then he would get them on his show based on track nine alone. 8/10 - Die Shellsuit Die

"Cuddly Shark Album review"

Packing a mighty punch, Cuddly Shark follow-up their critically acclaimed singles with this wonderful debut album. Describing themselves as hillbilly rockers, the Glasgow-based three-piece have more in common with the likes of Le Reno Amps and Elvis Suicide than, say, the twee indie with which the city is still associated with. They also list Shellac as an influence, which I definitely hear as well. Yet it’s not about where their influences are from, it’s where they’re going that make this debut such a thrilling, exciting listen. Right from the opening track ‘Bowl Of Cherries’ the album makes a powerful impression, as does their sense of humour. One track, entitled ‘Jamie Foxx on Later With Jools Holland’ is fifty seconds long and states simply ‘I heard you sing the worst song I ever heard.’ On Woody Woodpecker’ they casually breeze through more ideas in less than two muinutes than some bands do in an entire career. It’s not all balls out rock’n’ roll (though see if you can spot the Led-Zep baiting though!), ‘Whiteoaks’ is more wistful and acoustic yet still showcases a sound and song that is uniquely their own. And having given the album a blast through, you already find that you can’t cut it down to one or two highlights. They may have fled the bright lights of Elgin (as referred to in ‘The Punisher of IV30') but this band are truly one of the most exciting bands in Scotland right now. **** - 17 Seconds (on-line fanzine)


The Road To Ugly (album) - Jan 2013 - Armellodie Records

Body Mass Index EP - Oct 2012 - Armellodie Records (ARM30)

Cuddly Shark (album) - Nov 2009 - Armellodie Records (ARM07)

The Sheriff of Aspen Bay - Aug 2009 - Armellodie Records (ARM06)

Woody Woodpecker/Bowl of Cherries - Jan 2009 - Armellodie Records (ARM05)

The Punisher of IV30 - Nov 2007 - Armellodie Records (ARM03)



The band consists of two boys and one girl, Colin Reid on guitar and vocals, Jason Sinclair on drums and vocals and Ruth Forsyth on bass guitar.
Born and bred in the bonnie Highlands of Scotland the band found themselves magnetically drawn to the rainsoaked musical hotspot that is Glasgow to hone their sound. Things seemed to twitter along very quickly and Cuddly Shark found themselves with a winning debut album met with a host of acclaim from the likes of Rock Sound, Artrocker, BBC Radio 1 (Vic Galloway’s ‘Album of the Month’), and even celebrity endorsement from Kevin McKidd (Grey’s Anatomy, Rome)

Cuddly Shark will never have an ounce of pretentious hip- fat on them. The bands forthcoming album, The Road To Ugly is due for release on the 28th of January 2013.
Their live shows have seen comparisons made to Husker Du, Minor Threat, Ween, Fugazi and Weezer. Yet Cuddly Shark are unmistakably their own entity, a blistering romp of rock’n’roll carnage firing as loud as they can from a post-rock cannon.