When We Versus The Shark writes songs about urban sprawl ("I Am Scared Of Everything") or werewolves ("Keep It Wolf"), the paranoid-smartass vibe only helps grease up the cross-channel knife-fight between guitarists Samantha Paulsen and Luke Fields. The Athens, Georgia quartet's second album, Dirty Versions, finds it playing to all the right strengths, though it's still a few steps away from perfecting its balance of catchiness and Dismemberment Plan-inspired tantrums. For a band addicted to complex figures and sudden shifts, We Versus The Shark rarely overplays it, taking just enough time to savor a passage, never enough time for ponderous flab. When keyboards buzz in, they match the fevered rawness of the guitars ("Dogs"), as do the vocals, which offer more coordinated yelping than singing. Instead of dwelling on the band's eccentricity, Dirty Versions fries it alive in sweaty fretwork and lurching rhythm, constantly hungry for the next scene in this euphoric nightmare.
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