If you feel like you’ve heard of Fake Shark before, but can’t quite describe what it sounds like, you’re not alone. The Vancouver-based band has not made it easy for fans to keep up; each of the band’s four releases have showcased a different incarnation of the band from one album to the next.
The band debuted as a set of dance-punk heroes under the full name Fake Shark — Real Zombie! with the album Zebra! Zebra! in 2007, which was followed up with 2009’s EDM-leaning Meeting People is Terrible. Then, in 2013, they morphed into an electro art-pop outfit on the album Liar. Now, Fake Shark returns once again, with not only another evolution of their sound, but also a new lineup and slight name change.
“We’ve been guilty in the past, with the old version of the band, of every song sounding like a different band,” admits bandleader Kevvy Mental via press release. “That’s easy for us to do because we like lots of diverse things. But I wanted this album to sound in the same universe.”
The 2017 version of Fake Shark includes Kevvy as lead vocalist and programmer, with Louis Wu on guitar, Tony Dallas on bass, Alex Glassford on drums and Jake Fox on keyboards. Together on Faux Real, the group goes full-on synth-pop, best illustrated by ear-worm singles “Cheap Thrills” and “Heart 2 Heart.”
Beyond those two songs, the dancefloor hits on Faux Real keep coming. Other highlights include the swirling beat of “Something Special,” and the dreamy, exuberant “NOFOMO,” which includes guest vocals from Hannah Georgas. Legendary rapper Kool Keith also makes an appearance later in the album on the song “The Real Zombie.”
While it seems that Fake Shark is always a band in flux, one thing about it has remained remarkably consistent: it's always been interested in getting people to move.