Tuesday, 29 November 2016

A REVIEW OF SHEAFS' DEBUT EP 'Nobody's Watching' - 29/11/2016

SHEAFS - photo credit to Lewis Evans
From left to right - Charlie, Chris, Lawrence, Charles and Callum
SHEAFS are a five-piece band based in Sheffield
Identifying as indie-rock this quintet were labelled a ‘punk Libertines’ by Christian Carlisle of BBC Introducing Sheffield because of their live performance.
Made up of Lawrence Feenstra (lead vocals), Chris Goodacre (guitar and backing vocals), Callum Wright (bass and backing vocals), Charles Mellor (guitar) and Charlie Eastap (drums) this band have been creating quite a buzz surrounding their live performances.
Despite being around just over a year, this band have had airplay from Steve Lamacq and have recently supported the likes of Pretty Vicious, Hidden Charms, The Vryll Society and Glass Caves.
Their latest single ‘Punchline’ (released 18th March this year - you can listen to this track here) was recorded and produced at 2Fly Studios by Alan Smyth (previously worked with the likes of Richard Hawley and Pulp). This single has received multiple plays on BBC Radio 6 by Steve Lamacq and also on BBC Introducing Sheffield.
Now, the band have just released their debut EP 'Nobody's Watching' which was also recorded by Alan Smyth at 2Fly Studios of Sheffield and was mastered by Dean Honer.
Premiered by GigSlutz prior to its release, the EP was officially released on the 25th of this month on all major platforms such as iTunes and Spotify.

EP Artwork

If you have previously listened this band then this four-track debut EP from Sheafs is one which makes you realise right from the first track you listen to that it is different to their previous release, their debut single, Punchline. With this being said however, this release is similar to Punchline in terms of some of the themes.

I feel like this EP is definitely a bit darker than the first release from the band and it does really work for them.

The sound of this release I feel is much more progressed than that of Punchline and with the band only being around for just over a year, this to me signifies the fact that they are definitely still finding their feet as a band and are definitely trying their best to experiment with their sound but at the same time this release is one which is very together and solid sounding. With this release being recorded at the same studio as Punchline (2 Fly Studios, Sheffield) by the same person they could have produced something rather similar sounding to that debut single and although I very much like that song I'm glad this is the case.

'Acting On Emergency' is the track which kick-starts this EP. With a rapid start, frontman Lawrence's voice together with the drum beats from Charlie instantly hit you. The name signifies that someone is having to make a quick decision about something and in the case of this song it is about being on a night out and trying to decide whether or not they want to someone else home with them.

The main thing I love about this song is the way that the pace works really well with theme like the individual is running out of time to decide due to the bar shortly closing and others eyeing the person up so they have to be quick in weighing up everything up, whether actually fancy the person and whether they still like them in the morning. It's almost like you're listening to the persons thought process as these thoughts race through their mind.

The song also ends rather abruptly which for me was the best way for SHEAFS to end a song of this style.

The next track, 'Nobody's Watching', is the one which gives the EP it's name starts off in more of a psychedelic sounding nature with the guitars and bass of Callum, Charles and Chris working together to get the track off to a brilliant start.

The vocals of this track are considerably slower in comparison to the first track which I am glad about because it makes for a nice change. I feel like even though it is expected for all the songs on a release of this sort to sound kind of similar due to the band having a specific sound at the time, I think it is good for bands to have a little diversity within there which can usually be created by making there be difference in tempo from song to song which exactly what SHEAFS did with this release.

The EP is one that is darker than the first release of this band and that for me is best represented through this track.

SHEAFS live at The Rocking Chair for AMP Live Festival
The penultimate track on this EP is 'One Simple Rumour' which continues that psychedelic kind of sound.

The opening riffs of this song are probably the best out of any of any of the tracks on the EP.

Vocals on this song change in tempo throughout as they work alongside the drums, particularly right in the middle where you can hear Charlie become slower in playing and at that point Lawrence also slows down and as soon as the drum beats speed up again, the vocals follow. They don't however get as fast as they are in 'Acting On Emergency' which I think is good because although they've got from a fast song to a slow song and back to a fast song it's good that there is still difference within the kind of pace that each of the faster songs have.

This track brings in more of what you hear in the final track, the instruments begin to be alone more without the vocals.

The final track of this release is called 'Take Your Exit And Leave Through the Side Door' and this track for me is probably my favourite of the release.

It has an almost haunting sound throughout with the riffs and the drumming. There are sections where the guitars and drums are alone without the vocals.

The second to last time and towards the end of the last time that Lawrence sings on this track he definitely fits into the whole haunting sound, with the song being one about a night where something has gone wrong which is way someone wants to desperate to escape through the side door and this change in sound and style of the song is different to the rest of the EP which is why I feel I like it the most.

Overall this EP is one which I like very much. I feel like the direction the boys have gone in is one which is definitely a big step forward in terms of their careers as musicians and to have done it so soon is a move a lot of bands don't really make in the days of them releasing their debuts which has reminded me exactly why Sheafs are my favourite up and coming Sheffield-based band and that is something which I believe is only going to strengthen as they release more and more music in the future.

With this EP they have captured something special, its a solid sounding release with a haunting backdrop. It is filled with exciting punchy riffs and bass lines, powerful drums and

I have managed to catch SHEAFS live a few times in the last few months and so I have had the chance to hear these songs live and I can tell you know that these songs do not disappoint when live if anything, they are even better.

There is definitely a bright and very musical future ahead of these boys and they are still in their early days so I definitely recommend you listen to this EP as well as their debut single and you get down to a show of theirs soon, you can catch the boys at The Leadmill when they play alongside Liberty Ship in support of The Wired - you can buy tickets here

Written by Sophie.

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