Updated: Mar 18
The middle-aged Boltoners go against the rock 'n' roll grain to produce a debut that ought to be given exposure beyond their word of mouth following.
They say that rock 'n' roll isn’t owned by the young, they are only borrowing it. I've always believed this simple fact and it's observed time after time as the baton passes from one generation to the next. The young generation, full of guile and youthful experimentation, burn brightly for a time and, as they grow older, their flame of creativity starts to dim and the next generation roll in and take over.
If you listen to people like Simon Cowell and Pete Waterman, music is a young persons game and if you haven’t made it by the time you're 25 then you ain't ever going to.
Proving that this point of view is absolute bollocks are a bunch of middle-aged men from Bolton called The Shed Project.
Formed in Bolton in 2018, in one of the band members' sheds, the band have risen to prominence with more than a little shove from the wonderful new music champions on Twitter. The band consists of Roy on vocals, John on rhythm guitar, Tim on bass, Olli on lead guitar and Karl on drums.
The band are heavily influenced by the '90’s Manchester scene and it really comes through in their sound which consists of jangly guitars and Northern twanged vocals.
The band have built quite a following on Twitter and have also made it into the charts as part of the Bits n Pieces new music compilation that came out in late 2020. They also recently played a well-publicised gig at Wax and Beans Record Store in Manchester.
All of this brings us along to the soon to be released debut album The Curious Mind Of a Common Man which is due out in April. I have been lucky enough to hear an early mix of the album and I am very happy to report that it is quite magnificent.
Clocking in at just over 50 minutes there's barely a wasted second to be heard. The album opens strongly out of the gate with 'Modern Way', "Why oh why do we live like this" Roy repeats whilst also stating that the government don’t care and they live in a shit hole. Later on a track called ‘My Life' he states he wouldn’t have it any other way. It's a joyous song and the central theme of the almost mundane existence runs through the whole album. A reference to the weekend coming and going so quickly is something a lot of us can relate to.
The pace of the songs varies across the album with some songs to bounce around to and others to simply stand and listen. The fact that the band have the confidence to do this along the way is a credit to them. I also like the fact that some of the songs clock in at over 6 Minutes, something tI personally love especially being quite partial to a bit of prog-rock where song length isn’t set to rules.
The high standard maintains over the running time with hardly any drops along the way. 'One Shot' is about how we all essentially have one shot so live your life before you get old. it. 'Feel My Love' is my personal favourite a slice of pure '90’s nostalgia in every good way, yet it never sounds like a pastiche of a band trying too hard to sound like they're aiming to replicate the sound of a certain era. The album closes with 'Friend' which brilliantly builds to a crescendo of guitar melody before fading out. A great album closer and one that invites you into another listen straight away.
After the wonderful debut from The Rah’s last year, it's great to hear another fantastic album from a new band who have had to achieve something essentially through word of mouth. There's a discussion to be had about why radio do not give this new generation of bands a leg up as I’m sure there's space on their daily schedule. I would imagine most radio listeners wouldn’t miss an 8th or 9th play of 'Fools Gold' or 'There She Goes' for a chance to hear an unsigned band in need of exposure. Some small stations are starting to dedicate shows to new music but unless the national ones do the same it is going to continue to be a struggle for most of these bands to gain traction.
I shall be eagerly awaiting the release of this album and I genuinely hope it brings these gents all the success it deserves. If a band comprising of middle-aged blokes can create a band that was formed in a shed and still produce music this good it gives hope to us all. Roll on April.