Released: January 5
For years it seemed that Shed Seven would be another act whose flame burnt bright then went out in the Britpop heyday of the 1990s.
But following a surprise comeback with the Top 10 ‘Instant Pleasures’, the band returns with their superb sixth album, ‘A Matter Of Time’, and a body of work that stands out among the best of their 30-year career.
“For this album, we took a nostalgic journey back to our roots, immersing ourselves in the records and sounds that ignited our passion for songwriting at the tender age of 12,” says guitarist Paul Banks. “The influences of bands like The Smiths, R.E.M., U2, Simple Minds, The Cure, and Duran Duran permeate every note, making it a heartfelt homage to those cherished times.
“It embodies the essence of rebirth, empowering individuals to embrace their true selves without inhibition. With utmost conviction, we declare this as the pinnacle of our musical endeavours – the record we’ve always yearned to create.”
A broad spectrum of influences on paper makes for a varied listen, from the raucous Talk Of The Town to the breezy Kissing California and heart-tugging Let’s Go Dancing, all of which showcase distinct facets of the band’s sound with Rick Witter’s heavy Yorkshire-accent a reassuring thread throughout.
Launching with the call to action Let’s Go – an infectious pop-punk tinged ditty that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Green Day album – ‘A Matter Of Time’ also marks the band’s first foray into vocal collaborations, with Happy Mondays powerhouse Rowetta lending her unmistakable belt to In Ecstasy and Reverend and the Makers’ Laura McClure adding a softness to the layered Tripping With You.
Reaching its pinnacle with the six-minute epic Throwaways, featuring Libertine Pete Doherty on vocals, the track builds to a soaring singalong anthem and an ode to those that society forgot, a reminder once more that it was only ever ‘a matter of time’ until Shed Seven reemerged and cemented themselves as one of the finest and most enduring acts of the Britpop generation.
Without question their strongest, most assured work since ‘A Maximum High’ (1996).