Named after the three siblings who make up half of the band, Sheppard broke through in their Australian homeland last year, with their success including a three week chart-topping run for their second single. Seeking to expand to other markets, they are currently in North America before a London show on March 23rd. They'll also be back to the UK for a slot at the Isle of Wight festival in the Summer.
With song-writing duties shared by three members, an array of styles are evident on what can accurately be described as a pop music record. Leading off is the hooks-aplenty 'Geronimo', on which both lead vocalists George and Amy Sheppard get to shine. You can sing along within the first listen and would expect it to annoy by the second, yet this is never the case - it is a bona fide indie-pop gem. If this was to continue, then 'Bombs Away' would be a classic release, so it is almost inevitable that the quality tails off - but not dramatically. The sextet clearly has nous for catchy melodies and sweet harmonies, best demonstrated on 'Let Me Down Easy' and 'Smile', while the breezy 'These People' is also pleasant. Moves into other genres aren't quite as successful; 'Grade A Playa' is ineffective synthpop, though does show the power of Amy Sheppard's voice. Despite sounding familiar, 'Halfway To Hell' isn't the most impressive venture into heavier territory, but 'Find Someone' proves a decent stab at glam-rock.
By opening this album with such a strong track, Sheppard, to a degree, shoot themselves in the foot. The wait for an equal doesn't end unless you play the record again, but at the same time the majority of bands will not write a 'Geronimo' during their lifespan. As well as writing a brilliant song, this young outfit are encouraging in that there are plenty of tracks here that are, at least, listenable and, in many cases, very good. With a touch of focus on what they do best, there is enough evidence to suggest that they could be the next big thing from the Australian music scene.
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