This week: “Off the Deep End,” Shark Alley Hobos, sharkalleyhobos.net, available June 2 at Amazon and iTunes
Hear them live: Album release show from noon to 3 p.m. July 11, Sweetwater Music Hall, 19 Corte Madera Ave., Mill Valley; free
This may be the most ingenious album Press Play has reviewed so far this year. The Shark Alley Hobos, a Marin band that specializes in sea shanties, has written and recorded “Off the Deep End,” a musical tribute to the movie “Jaws.”
The band is headed by singer-songwriter Che Prasad, a pathologist at Marin General Hospital. The idea for the album was sparked two years ago, when Prasad and his musician brother Mikie Lee went to England to take a songwriting course from Ray Davies of the Kinks.
“One of our assignments was to write a song about our favorite movie,” Prasad says. “Mikie and I both independently chose ‘Jaws,’ which Ray found very intriguing.”
The rest of the band members must have been intrigued as well because once the Prasad brothers came home, their bandmates agreed to each write an original “Jaws” tribute song.
The result is a rollicking good time of an album with some biting satire and clever references to the Steven Spielberg-directed classic, including the folky “Quint’s Lament” by John Howard; the fingerpicked acoustic ballad “What I Do” by Mikie Lee Prasad; the New Orleans vibe of Chris Franklin’s “The Water’s Fine,” and Prasad’s scary “The Deep End,” which opens the album, and “Ode to a Celluloid Masterpiece,” which brings it to a lisping close with a nod to comedian Ernie Kovacs’ 1950s character Percy Dovetonsils.
The band throws in a couple of tunes from “Jaws 2” — “Show Me the Way to Go Home” and a medley of “Downtown” and “Spanish Ladies.” You don’t have to have seen the “Jaws” movies to enjoy this album, but it helps. And you have to admire a band that would record an entire album about a movie whose central character is a mechanical shark.