Album review by KevW for www.soundsxp.com
Liverpudlian musician Luke Jones is something of an anomaly. As mentioned when he released his début EP 'Predator' back in 2011, he'd already amassed nine home-recorded albums and was still (if memory serves) in his teens. At last count this had risen to around a dozen. Basically, this guy had more material than many musicians manage in a lifetime, and all at a frighteningly young age. Other people may have done similar, but is it possible to churn out that many songs whilst keeping quality high and without each track being a variation on the same theme? Given that he was instantly snapped up by London label Blang after they saw him performing solo in Ireland, it would suggest that the standard was consistent enough for them to not want this one getting away. Since then, Sheepy has now become a trio; something which can only help with live performances and also add to the input in terms of writing. Being able to bounce ideas around can be a great way of getting that little addition that may be missed by just one mind.
There's proof on this self-titled début album release that some songs have evolved, and there's also proof of the much needed variation that such a huge amount of material (for future release, here we get the standard 12 songs) would need. With first single 'Predator' (not included here) being a punky powerpop track, Sheepy then gave us notice that he had more than one trick. 'Glum' was a different style; still a guitar tune, but in a way that resembled the more quirky aspects of bands like The Kinks. For the album, the trio have rerecorded this track, upping the pace but losing none of its idiosyncratic British charm and piano-led pop melodies. With an extra spring in its step it's become even better. The first we heard from Sheepy as a trio was the single 'Another Day', an instant poptastic indie tune that again brought alteration in style to the table. It's still a highlight. Recent single 'These Clothes' takes yet another route, being a high energy fuzz-rock song that is overflowing with exuberance. The most exciting thing is that although you could label Sheepy as indie-punk or powerpop, they don't use the same format over and over again. Buzzing guitars and melody provide the bulk of their sound, and they signal that this is the case with opening track 'Wrongun' and leave you with that drummed into your head by signing off with the jaunty 'Art Jam' which even includes a brief blues break into its short duration.
What you do notice on 'Sheepy' is that the spirit of youth and having a good time resounds throughout, and coupled with the odd bit of schoolboy humour (you probably wouldn't find Spiritualized calling a song 'Warwick Hunt') it means this is a lovable bundle of fun as well as being an amazingly accomplished set of tunes. The lyrics talk of messy times, especially with the '90s-style indie of 'Ket Party' or the garage stomp of 'Everyone's Just Waitin' For Their Turn' with its talk of cigarettes and whisky and more people trying to get in the door: you find parties, and particularly their untidy aftermath, being recurring themes. One constant comparison has been to early Super Furry Animals, themselves masters of making complete albums where all the pieces fit neatly together yet are still different shapes. 'Don't Know Much' will have you thinking of the Welsh wizards; 'Little Chatterbox' keeps the spirit of '77 alive with a two minute blast of pummelling riffs and drums; they delve into timeless guitar-pop again for 'Twenty Years'; the aforementioned 'Warwick Hunt' is a delightfully poppy and tuneful song about someone who is apparently not the nicest of chaps. It's another potential single (although clearance for daytime radio play might be a struggle, the scouse accent makes it sound even more like it's not quite “Warwick Hunt” that's being sung). This doesn't matter though, if Sheepy want another single they they just have to take their pick. 'Hugs + Kisses' is another prime contender. With the staggering work-rate and undeniable quality, this is a band who could have a long career, and such is the treasure trove of unreleased material available, they could quite possibly do so without penning another tune for a decade.
Stream the album in full from Sheepy's website
Buy the album
Catch them live:
26.07.14 KAZIMIER, Liverpool (LIVERPOOL CALLING)
Follow The Sound Of Confusion on Facebook or Twitter