"It's just a big shiny wow with a hint of irony" is how Stealing Sheep have described their third full length studio album 'Big Wows'. The band's first album in four year follows 2015's 'Not Real' and sees the Liverpudlian trio of Rebecca, Emily and Luciana with a heightened presence in the public's consciousness thanks to increased air play, one very catchy single ('Joking Me') and a great performance at the recent BBC 6Music Festival.
Stealing Sheep's eleven track album is a shimmering piece of bright and bold pop that translates a day-glo and glitter imagination into a sparkling electro hybrid. Where Hot Chip meets Metronomy to sing in a Tom Tom Club style as they perform an early 80s retro set is where Stealing Sheep live.
'Why Haven't I' sets the high female vocals on a stunning synth-based platform that combines some great bleeps, beats and loops with an off set percussive track that pushes the song along. Lead single 'Joking Me' is ridiculously infectious with its chorus nigh on impossible to dislodge once you've heard it. The conversational interaction is a humorous delight and the revolving keyboard hook a work of brilliance. Opening track and second single 'Show Love' is light and bounces with positivity coupled with the undercurrent of irony that pervades the whole album. 'Girl' is slower more reflective song that highlights the quality in Emily Lansley's basslines and the title track is a funkier song that brings her bass more to the fore.
Rebecca Hawley's keyboard wizardry is particularly noticeable on Stealing Sheep's latest release. Some of her compositions and arrangements are inspired. This, along with the more individual percussive touches and the combined trio of vocals, is what sets 'Big Wows' above its predecessors. 'Back In Time' combines all three of these elements in harmony. There are no competing factions, just a seamless, melodic slice of deftly produced pop. The album's "hidden" close-out track 'Heartbeat' ensures that Stealing Sheep go out with an ever more experimental instrumental flourish.
'Big Wows' should be Stealing Sheep's breakthrough album. It's proper pop with a nod to the past but signalling a bright, near luminous future. With infectious hooks, a highly polished, light and adroit production and their best collection of songs to date Stealing Sheep have made a very credible album indeed.
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Have a spookily musical Halloween this year.