Liverpool pop-punk scoundrels Sheepy have been described as “an awkward slice of jangly Weezer-meets-Dead Kennedy’s off-kilter rock”… but that was by their PR. Us? We like it. But hear something a little more homegrown. By Denis Parkinson.
Known for being passive and easily led, sheep flock together and are very predictable. This behaviour is only common in groups of four or more, however, and less than four can be hard to predict… they may act in different ways than other sheep. What am I on about? Sheepy, a three-piece band from Liverpool, may have a name that means sheep-like, but they are showing signs of leaving the flock behind.
Tortured metaphors aside, Sheepy began as Luke Jones writing and recording songs at home (ten albums of home demos worth in fact). Discovered by and signed to Blang Records, following an appearance at a pirate radio festival in County Mayo, guitarist and singer Luke subsequently recorded six more home demo albums and formed the band with Ollie Phillips on drums and Villy Raze on bass.
Following these prolific home recordings there have been five singles, an album and an EP leading up to their second album proper, ‘Alarm Bells’, released earlier this year. Latest single ‘Home’ has been played constantly on BBC 6Music and indie icon Steve Lamacq is a fan: “I do like that!” You can hear him, can’t you? Fellow Beeb tastemakers Tom Robinson and Gideon Coe have also spun the song and plays on Sky Sports have widened the band’s exposure. There is surely more to come, too…
‘Alarm Bells’ is an album of eleven energetic and catchy power pop songs. Guitar, bass and drums is a classic set up that can sometimes lead to familiar arrangements, but that’s not the case here. The songs have varied and complex structures and although familiar in style, do bring something new to the mix. Often the clearest way to get a feel for a band’s music is to look for influences and there are hints of an amazing record collection in here: Ramones with a hint of Kinks, Buzzcocks meeting Merseybeat and the jagged guitars are reminiscent of Pavement. Indeed, it’s not hard to imagine The Undertones walking down Mathew Street humming these tunes…
There is fun at work, too, but this isn’t disposable music. Sheepy’s natural sound feels like a logical progression in the evolution of guitar pop. Yes, there are obvious influences… but who cares? We need to know where we’ve been to understand where we’re going and Sheepy are heading off in their own direction.
I think we should follow.
Pic courtesy Cannonball PR