fri 25/05/2018

CD: Stealing Sheep - Not Real | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Stealing Sheep - Not Real

CD: Stealing Sheep - Not Real

Second album from Liverpool trio emphasises the extraneous instead of the songs

Stealing Sheep's 'Not Real': frustrating

The Liverpool-based female trio Stealing Sheap’s second album Not Real frustrates. By turns immediate and deliberate, its Meccano-kit pop isn’t bolted together as a harmonious whole. Instead of meshing, electro beats and chanted vocals clash. It sounds as if an old-fashioned road-testing of the songs would have worked the bugs out, helped strip away extraneous textures, and injected some much-needed pep.

It’s doubly frustrating as Not Real is not a bad album. It’s good. And often great. But the manifold buzz-friendly constituent parts often swamp what’s great about it. Head straight for track seven, the spooky, haunted-house acoustic guitar and disembodied vocal rumination “Evolve”. It’s terrific. Then take the lumpy title track, which opens with solo vocal lines recalling that Kate Nash-ish glottal-stop delivery which irritated back then. And still does. As do squelchy synth lines and Seventies-style home-organ rhythm box. The video is fantastic (watch it overleaf) but what frames the song itself is too forced.

Since their debut album, 2012’s Into the Diamond Sun, Stealing Sheep has become less folky and reconsidered the music of David Lynch in a live setting. They have also collaborated with the Radiophonic Workshop. All of which creeps in here. There are also odd vocal lines by male collaborators. For its melodies and songs alone, Not Real is a winner. In its final bricolage-style assemblage though, Not Real is not so sure-footed.

Overleaf: Watch the video for the title track of Stealing Sheep’s Not Real

 

Watch the video for the title track of Stealing Sheep’s Not Real

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