‘Into the Diamond Sun’, Stealing Sheep’s 2012 debut LP, was a diverse and over worked selection of tracks. While a confident release, it saw this Liverpool trio almost trying too hard to achieve a sound that didn’t always sit comfortably. It was over-experimentation and felt as though the band where trying to produce something that wasn’t necessarily ‘them’.
Fast forward three years and we’re greeted with the bands eureka moment. ‘Not Real’ is an electro-pop masterclass of memorable chorus’s, atmospheric synths and, most importantly, strong songwriting. There are still elements of the aforementioned experimentation but it’s been scaled back leaving the melodies and zestful tunes at its forefront. The album dazzles throughout leaving little doubt that the band have found their mojo.
With only a couple of exceptions this LP rolls effortlessly from beginning to end. Opening track ‘Sequence’ contains funked-up guitars, glorious light synths and a baseline that demands much foot tapping. From that point forward you realize you’re listening to something quite remarkable.
Title track ‘Not Real’ and the incredible ‘Greed’ take the prize for best on show. Both add a little twist to the more pop based tunes about them. The latter contains a mish-mash of instrumentation and differing vocal techniques but throughout has a glorious thumping drum; without ever being over-complicated. It grows with each and every listen and is sure to grace play-lists the globe over throughout 2015, and hopefully beyond.
If we were to pick holes then there would be few opportunities to do so. Certainly ‘This Time’, while quite catchy, simply doesn’t fit in here. It’s almost as though it was written to another album altogether. ‘She’ also grinds a little but that may just be a personal observation as for many this appears to be a favourite.
‘Not Real’ is a real statement of intent from ‘Stealing Sheep’. There is no doubt they’ve catapulted themselves to the very heady heights of this electro-pop genre with this release and with air time and an impressive tour schedule this could be the start of something very big for the trio. This new, more direct, sound simply works on every level.
‘Not Real’ is out on the 13th April 2015, via Heavenly Recordings.
The full track-listing for ‘Not Real’ is as follows…
‘Evolve & Expand’
You can see ‘Stealing Sheep’ live at one of these venues…