Shed Seven - Instant Pleasures

by Mark Steele Rating:9 Release Date:2017-11-10
Shed Seven - Instant Pleasures
Shed Seven - Instant Pleasures

In the mid-90's in the UK, Britpop was taking the music industry literally by storm.There was a reaction emerging that brought a raw energy with socio-political vocals, carried along with a good helping of driving guitar anthems for a new Brit-centric generation.

Amongst the chasing group, following the lead runners of the new scene, came York's contribution in the guise of Shed Seven. They never really received the huge mainstream accolades as say the two giants, Oasis and Blur - despite having fifteen top 40 singles and four top twenty albums. However, their own formula, unfortunately comparable to many other artists around at the time, was grafted and crafted over the distance of their early studio albums: Change Giver, Let It Ride, Going For Gold and A Maximum High, a formula that further spread onto their 2001 release Truth To Be Told. They broke up in 2003 and then regrouped for a greatest hits tour in 2007.

Ten years after, with a sizable social media following, we are now caught up in the revived band's comeback album, Instant Pleasures, a fitting title, highlighting the snapshot-fix, easily gratified, and tech-enslaved populace that is evident in modern society. The album artwork appears as half-staircase, half-slide, all covered in red.

The first song off the 12-song album, "Room In My House" is strong and anthemic with a driving fuzz guitar riff. The rich and roaring "Oh, Oh, Oh, Yeah Yeah Yeah" vocals, are full of elation, a good starter. The jingle-jangle intro of the slightly Stereophonics sounding "Nothing To Live Down", has an uplifting boost, as the repeated phrase " A change could do you good" says.

A gospel-infused swinger, with Rick's effective vocal delivery on "It's Not Easy", builds up and up to a climatic finish. There is the memorable line "No spunk in your trunk, and no fun in your funk" not to mention the tight guitar work by Paul on here too. Talking of funk, do check out the guitar groove, on the verse section of "Said I'm Sorry." The bright guitars dedicated to the special girl "Victoria", has some 60's elements in the style of The Kinks - particularly the song "Waterloo Sunset". The horns work quite well on here also, adding to the already cheerful presentation. There are some train sounds slotted in near the end if you listen closely, and that is the clever connection.

A couple of driving bass and drum pounders bring us just over half-way. "Enemies & Friends" goes from a serious 80's synth rock to anthemic glory, while a song that could be a dancefloor favourite, the 70's rock sounding "Star Crossed Lovers" may stick in your head. The chorus phrase "Star-crossed lovers in chains, can't you see us, crashing down. We're star-crossed lovers in flames, can't you see us crashing down".
The "A Perfect Day" contender of this album "Hang Onto Yourself", has Rick putting out some great hope-inducing lines on these songs. Here he looks to save an individual, "I stick to my guns, cause I see a soul in there somewhere, a soul that should be let set free". The last two minutes gets on down southern rock style, with a nice fading sustained organ ending.

The bold "Butterfly On A Wheel" is another energiser, with neat vocal harmonies. It looks at perspectives of a torn relationship, stating it cannot go back to how it was. Following that song, on "People Will Talk". we see a relationship where there is unashamed love, which is a nice concept in a modern world where image-conscious songs seem to reign. To close the album, "Invincible" feels as though this is about the re-emerged band examining what pitfalls could arise in their path, yet there seems a hope to push through despite the odds.

Instant Pleasures is quite strong, showing a band greatly able to craft above-average songs, with no weak inclusions here. A real contender for one of their top albums and should attract quite a few new fans to their existing base.

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