Genre wise Reef Shark is part surf rock, part indie and part spacey. These styles shift in and out from song to song, while keeping a laid back tone throughout. As a mashup, the end result is a modern take on the shoegaze sound. It works in bringing you into the mostly melancholy world of Reef Shark.
The album begins with “Leaving,” an upbeat track with positive, driving energy, putting it out of step with the rest of the album. It takes an interesting turn when it’s accompanied by a syncopated, funky rhythm section: a great mashup of styles helping drive the song while still allowing it to sound dreamy.
On the other hand, the title track, “Mind Race,” embraces introspective shoegaze with its heartache vocals and simple structure. It creates a sound space that allows the listener to get lost in its lush delivery, making it the album’s defining track.
“Seven” breaks away from the rest of the album’s tone to deliver a very angst driven song that angrily shouts “I WANT OUT!” The chorus bursts frantically, as if it’s sucking away the album’s happier sounds. It’s a departure, maintaining an electronic indie vibe, only one that’s focused and frustrated.
Mind Race is varied. The album manages to go from upbeat anthems to surreal dreamscapes and even goes down to dark bitter rock. Sometimes the vocals and the instruments sound mismatched, as if the recordings are patched together from different songs: the vocals feel pushed to the wayside in favour of distorted guitar riffs and this makes the lyrics almost impossible to understand. In spite of this the mashup of styles is strong enough to compensate.
On the whole the album brings the listener a surreal sound and uses it only to evoke the little struggles in life and the realization at how little they mean. Mind Race isn’t an album that will blow you away, but instead offers a late night, back porch listen. As they put it best in “Unwind”: “We’ll all be alright, I know that you’re right / There’s just a war in my mind, just let me unwind.”