Review: The Mad Doctors – No Waves, Just Sharks
National Music Reviews
The Mad Doctors
No Waves, Just Sharks
King Pizza Records
The Mad Doctors = Bass Drum Of Death + together PANGEA
Tune into The Mad Doctors’ newest release, No Waves, Just Sharks, and there is no question about where the band calls home. They open the album with the song “The Ballad of Jort Dad.” A muffled voice immediately comes over a megaphone starkly announcing, “Ladies and germs, we are The Mad Doctors from Brooklyn, N.Y. aka planet pizza, the pepperoni nebuloid. We are hear to assault your earholes with psychotronic fuzz, so sit back, relax and die.” The moment the voice curls up and sinisterly fades out the word “die,” the intro erupts into crashing drums, booming bass chords and reverb-drenched guitars. The album explodes like a test tube filled with catastrophic chemicals. The tone for their newest LP has been set. The Mad Doctors are back for a good time, a raunchy time—a dirty underground, no-fucks kind of time.
The Mad Doctors released their sophomore album on April 14 via Brooklyn-based record label King Pizza. There is no coincidence when The Mad Doctors call Brooklyn “planet pizza,” a blatant nod to their label.
No Waves, Just Sharks is dripping with fuzz, surf and garage vibes. It rises from the gutters and sewers of the unknowing city and spills out onto the streets, filling the air with its tastes and smells. The B-movie skits that litter the record are reminiscent of The Black Lips’ earlier work, but are far more present on The Mad Doctors’ release. Normally, filling so much space on an album with skits might be overkill, but on this record, it showcases the band’s personalities and creates a storyline for each song. It ends up being playful, as opposed to daunting. The vocals are hauntingly hollow, allowing for freedom for the hearts instruments to take control of the sound.
“Dead Beach” has both Seth Applebaum and Josh Park harmonizing on the chorus. They sing, “She’s a burn out, he’s a dead beat / Two dropouts burning in the sun.” “Lord of Garbage” rages through sludge-drenched vocals and harrowing, space-echo reverb. The filth-laden vocals of Applebaum spew, “I belong with the vermin.” The track is a science experiment in and of itself that just barely misses the mark. “She’s a Psycho” loops through another highly engaging skit pertaining to the title of the song. Applebaum howls, “She’s keeping secrets in the locks of her hair / You can see the demons living in affair. Some might say that she’s a psycho. She’s a psycho, but I don’t care.” The self-proclaimed “bearded, lab-coated creeps” aren’t afraid of a little madness in their music or their women.
The Mad Doctors are on to something. They created an album that is rooted in the filthy underground of New York City. The sophomore LP is good, but not great. I’ve heard Bass Drum Of Death do fuzz and rioting recorded better. The Mad Doctors are part of a scene in music that doesn’t need to be recorded perfectly, but it does need to ignite a fire when seen live. I’d guess, the band blows the roof off when they perform. No Waves, Just Sharks deserves to be heard—maybe even more so, it deserves to be heard live. The raucous album should not be contained solely to the speakers in our homes. –Alexandra Graber