OH MINNOWS: For Shadows: CD

Oh Minnows is a person by the name of Chris Steele-Nicholson formerly of the group Semifinalists, and For Shadows represents his debut solo album. Chris began working as Oh Minnows in 2009, following the break-up of Semifinalists.

Album opener and lead single “Another Volunteer” has fast stuttering guitar work, and then chills a little bit and becomes one of the album’s most melodic and catchy songs. “At The Rehearsal” gets things moving a bit more with echoed, distorted vocals and then going into a euphoric chorus. “A Performance” has the tempo going in and out of slower and faster parts before the soaring harmonic vocals kick in. “Trade” has a sharp electronic pulse that works well in with the laid back vocals. “Some Reasons Why” is a shorter more minimal track that has a great sound. “Everyday” has a gorgeously languid guitar and infectious, shuffling rhythm and is a very romantic and confessional song. Final song “By The Sea” is a blissful and thrilling end to the album.

There’s not really a weak track on For Shadows, it gives the listener a trip that takes you outside of the doldrums and brings you to a calmer, more fun place. The album is definitely recommended and while be something that you will come back to time and time again.




BEING THERE: Breaking Away: CD

There are a lot of 80’s references all over this release from this London, England based foursome’s debut album. You get twee pop, C86 style indie, THE JESUS & MARY CHAIN’s early work and even some late 80’s style indie.

That sure is a lot for such a young band to deal with, but it actually works really well and I was impressed by their ability to blend it all together this successfully. They formed the band in late 2010 after meeting at Manchester University and play like they’ve been around longer than that. They have maturity in their playing, which they do very well all across this release. “The Radio” and “17” are two of the more memorable tracks on this album. They are bit more upbeat and have a cool, summery vibe to them, that sticks with you. “Punch the Clock” has the feel of THE JESUS & MARY CHAIN’s guitar work, but still sounds fresh, and “Back to the Future” erupts into fantastic guitar playing as the song builds. The band, vocalist and guitarist Sammy Lewis, James Robinson on bass and vocals, Tom Rapanakis on drums and Nick Olorenshaw on lead guitar did a fantastic job, their playing took me away and the journey was great.

The band goes between more laid back songs and faster paced, bouncier songs with ease and a really good flow to the album. The good part is that with all of the 80’s leanings, they still have a contemporary feel and it made me really enjoy this album a lot more than I thought that I would have.

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