Music you may have missed: Hello Shark— ‘Delicate’

Posted: by The Editor

Delicate is the perfect title for Hello Shark’s latest LP. Songwriter Lincoln Halloran sings softly of little time capsules that are either warmly nostalgic or painfully confessional—or at his best, they’re both. Each song feels like a memory you’d recall while lying in bed trying to sleep. Most of them are detailed but short-lived; emphasizing the fragility of our thought processes and how we can become trapped in a cycle of self-analysis. “I know it’s late but I can’t get you out of my head just yet / gotta do some grieving / you always said that true love is to fear what you feel / will never come back again” he sings in unison with Katie Bennett on the folky “Danny.”

“Big Game” provides the footnotes of an interaction from beginning to end, switching tenses every few lines to show Halloran reflecting. “I’ll give you a ride to Julie’s / you’re gonna watch some movies / you rode in the backseat / like you were riding in a taxi / thought you were mad at me,” he sings with a melodic inflection. However, the hardest hitting lines come on “Laugh It Off,” when his intimate disclosures are coupled with a moaning delivery that sounds like he’s on the brink of tears: “Why’d you laugh it off when I said I was in love with you? / why’d you laugh it off it was the hardest thing that I could do.”

These songs are also exceedingly tender musically. Most of the arrangements consist of light guitar strumming, silky synths, simple bassline chord progressions, and a straightforward backbeat. However, Halloran’s a seasoned songwriter, and the record ceases to become boring despite its instrumental austerity. He placed some sort of hook into every tune, so even quiet tracks like “Jackson Browne,” “Big Game,” “Fishing for Bats,” and “Drake Night” are surprisingly catchy. Further proving Halloran’s competency, the latter two are molded around electronic rhythms that provide a nice changeup to the standard guitar/bass/drums formula.

Hello Shark avoid all of the traps that bands of their ilk often fall into with this album. It’s mellow yet catchy enough to hold interest from front to back, it’s diverse enough to evade sounding one-dimensional, and it’s lyrically at a higher level than many of The Epoch artists that this music most closely resembles. Delicate is an excellent lo-fi indie-pop record.

Score: 8.3/10

Eli Enis | @eli_enis