Bear vs. Shark Terrorhawk

Bear vs. Shark Terrorhawk
A better snapshot of the band’s brilliantly manic live show than 2003’s Right Now, You’re In the Best of Hands, this 15-song collection is buoyed by higher production values, more energetic performances, and overall better songwriting. Marc Paffi’s vocals retained their strained Hot Water Music feel, while truly coming into his own on tracks like the piano-led "Baraga Embankment” and "Out Loud Hey Hey.” The rest of the band continue to live up to their name, with all the gruff ferocity of an attacking bear lunging into the water to fight the far sleeker and faster shark. Obvious comparisons are hard to come by, as any one moment of Stooges-esque punk breakdowns is quickly followed by a driving, melodic chorus reminiscent of Lifetime. Particularly on show here is the versatility of drummer Ashley Horak, whose ability to shift seamlessly from a laidback rock groove into a lightning-fast, bar-long fill truly holds together songs like "Entrance of the Elected.” The standout track here is "Song About Old Rollercoaster,” which has a continuous guitar riff that grows and grows until the song’s bristling climax. A significant step forward from an already solid body of work, Terrorhawk does justice to a band whose recording may finally silence the incessant refrain of "You have to see them live!”

Have there ever been any serious injuries during a live set? Guitarist, Bassist, and Vocalist John Gaviglio: Mike almost broke his hand during a show last week in London [Ontario], causing us to cancel our last show of the tour with Mewithoutyou. Marc’s busted teeth and fingers, and I once knocked him out with a medicine ball. The list could go further, but mostly it’s smaller injuries. We are trying to relax a little now to preserve our touring longevity.

Your lyrics and song titles can be irreverent — do you find that your approach to music flies over some people’s heads? I think maybe it does sometimes, just because I don’t think we spoon feed the listener as much as some may be used to. I think we leave a lot open to interpretation, and we try some different things, which may not be why some people are into music.

In a street fight between the Bear, the Shark, the Terrorhawk, and yourself, who would win? If I had a nickel... We’re asked who would win between a bear and a shark every show we play. I would have to say that since my time spent in the clink, I’ve mastered my shiv — aka my sharpened spork — and I would slaughter all. Except for the Terrorhawk, which is not a real animal, duh. (Equal Vision)