Shed Seven – Instant Pleasures

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Britpop makeweights haven’t changed their tune.

Image of Shed Seven – Instant Pleasures

(Infectious Music, out now)

Was there a clamour for a new Shed Seven album? Inexplicably, it seems so. Second division at best, even at their peak, they’ve now existed long enough to be misremembered as past masters. They were even on prime time radio with Chris Evans the other week. Wheel out an Ugly Bloke, it’s like TFI Friday all over again.

Instant Pleasures (even the title reeks of stale Britpop) certainly has a transportative effect. Suddenly, you’re in O’Neills in Leicester in 1998, Beckham’s just got sent off against Argentina and ruined the World Cup, so you’re getting another round of Stellas in for the lads. “I fuckin’ love this one,” you shout as a familiar riff hits the jukebox. Is it Embrace? Is it Ocean Colour Scene? No, it’s them other ones… oh, what are they called, again? “Shed Seven, mate. ‘Cos he lost his virginity in a shed when he was seven. Fnarr, fnarr!”

There’s little update to that hoary old template on this, their first album in sixteen years. They’ve added some brass in places (a Yorkshire flourish perhaps?) There’s also an occasional nod to the earnest air-punching Britrock of The Alarm and Big Country. Otherwise, it’s turn of the century sub-Oasis swagger that makes Travis sound like the future of music again. Even the song titles are uninspiring – Nothing To Live Down, Said I’m SorryBetter Days, Hang On.

It’s Not Easy’s refrain of “No spunk in your trunk / And no fun in your funk” is no Wordsworth, but might accurately sum up midlife in a middling Britpop band. It’s also positively profound next to some of what’s on offer.  “I won’t lie / I wasn’t thinking of you / ‘Cos I’m over you now / Take a look how it feels,” sings Witter on Butterfly on a Wheel. On People Will Talk he fearlessly defends the object of his affections from the gossip of others: “People will talk / it doesn’t matter much to me / people will talk / you really mean the world to me”. Call Hallmark, we’ve got a new writer!

Perhaps in the tumult of 2017, a portion of the country pine for the safety of those heady early days of Blair’s Britain, and Shed Seven are the kid brothers you can remember it with. While contemporaries Dodgy, whose new material shows a willingness to keep moving forward, are playing lowly Bannerman’s, the Sheds are selling out Glasgow’s massive Academy. Go figure.

It’s not that it’s especially bad, it’s just unnecessary. What purpose it serves that couldn’t be addressed with a quick spin of Going For Gold: The Greatest Hits isn’t clear. Dolphin was an indie disco banger back in the day. Just stick that on and do your best monkey dance. Nothing here will do the job as well.

Still, if this album and concomitant tour pays the mortgages, and gives a certain demographic the heady rush of their younger days, there’s no real harm in it. Perhaps blokey guitars are the Instant Pleasures that some music fans still crave.


/ @peaky76

Robert is the Managing Editor of The Wee Review and has been writing for the site since early 2014. Previously, he was manager of the Yorkshire arts website, digyorkshire. He pays bills by working for a palliative care charity and lives in Edinburgh.


7 Responses to Shed Seven – Instant Pleasures

  1. Stu says:

    It’s sad when you review an album & it appears that you already have an agenda, ignoring any merits the actual songs may have. It’s not helpful for people like me who want an honest review of the music before I decided to buy it or not. Stick to the wonderful charity work you do (hats off to you).

  2. Robert Peacock says:

    Sorry, Stu, I struggled to find the merits! Having followed Shed 7 a bit back in the day, I couldn’t work up enthusiasm for more of the same 20 years on.

    And thanks for taking the time to read the review, even if it didn’t help much.

  3. Damo says:

    I have heard this album, and was very impressed. Im no Shed 7 fan but I did like their hits of the 90’s. I think this review is far too negative, just because the author doesnt like this type of music, or thinks that the band should have changed tack doesnt merit a complete write off. As far as the tunes go, virtually all are nicely written and tuneful tracks, whats not to like? For a more balanced review, please see this link – http://www.rotherhamadvertiser.co.uk/news/view,album-review-instant-pleasures-by-shed-7_24561.htm

  4. Dan says:

    Sorry Robert, but as Stu has said your review appears to have a pre-planned agenda. This album is by no means A Maximum High but it is no way a 2 star album. I suggest you put your prejudice to one side when reviewing in the future.

  5. Robert Peacock says:

    More of a Change Giver man myself, but point taken. I think the Shed lads will be pleased they’ve got so many folk defending their honour!

    Not going to pretend I was expecting much, but I was open to being pleasantly surprised, and I wasn’t. I think they’ll survive though. They’ve got a sell-out national tour ahead of them.

    For a prejudice free opinion, my girlfriend actually walked in when I was listening to it and said, “Who’s this? It’s boring.”

    But I’m pleased you all care so much. Glad there’s some passionate music fans out there.

  6. Ed Stephan says:

    It’s funny that you are the only one to look at this album so negatively! All the other reviews give it top marks and deservedly so. It’s nice for us older geezers to have something familiar come across. Stands right there with all of the best of what they have done.

  7. Shaun says:

    It wasn’t ever cool to like shed seven was it? Well I do and I’m proud to! I think this is a great album and am enjoying it while I write this. Two stars is extremely harsh and you seemed to be in the mood to hate it no matter what it sounded like.
    Looking forward to hearing your album as I’m sure you can do better!!

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