Review: Sheafs – Vox Pop EP

Vox Pop

It’s not often we hand out advice because, well, most of the time it’s not ours to give.

But listen up now, and listen well: if any man (and it will almost certainly be a man) comes at you saying that politics and music don’t mix, we say run as fast as your legs can go in the other direction, singing every protest song you’ve ever heard back over your shoulder.

Politics doesn’t have to be about the government, like everything else it’s almost always better when it’s personal. Sheafs get it, the Sheffield five-piece making this, their first release, ‘Predominantly about our fascination and consumption in relation to self-image and acknowledging the strain of that’.

Now that we can all agree political songs with a small ‘p’ are necessary and interesting and important, the heroes and villains can take centre stage. On Vox Pop’s quintet the newcomers often threaten to let themselves bubble over with scattergun energy and force of will, opener Thinking Out Loud breaking back against the moral minority with an abrasive leer, while Total Vanity’s punk zeal skewers the madness of living life in the mirror.

It’s a guarantee that, once you’re in a hot streak as a writer, 2020 won’t stop giving you the stuff of new material, but you still have to put all this misanthropy together in the right order. The stroppy barrage here doesn’t allow much time for contemplation; World Is Falling Apart has the glam and the smarts (‘Well there’s kids on the street/And they’re scared of the dark/I’m the product of a nation without a heart’).

In a similar vein, the finale Care Less has the sort of hip-twisting vibes and tambourine boogie which proves, importantly, that these people also along for the ride with us aren’t making the mistake of taking themselves too seriously.

So, we reckon you can keep shaking the tree to see what falls down: if the man tells you to stop doing something, you should carry on and do it some more – a Sheafs philosophy that should just about work for everyone.

8/10

Andy Peterson

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