An introduction to the indie jangle guitar sounds of The Shop Window; a DIY band who've delivered one of the debuts of 2021.
I won't hold it against you if you haven't heard of Kent-based band The Shop Window. I hadn't until a few weeks ago. They're a four-piece indie-pop band that play an infectious brand of jangly guitar tunes thats sounds both fresh and nostalgic. Nostalgic and fresh, how does that work then? It just does, believe me.
They've just released their debut album The State of Being Human and it's already a heavy favourite within certain indie circles. Originally released on Bandcamp and vinyl, it came to streaming platforms on 2 July, and, to be honest, I haven't been able to stop listening since! Now a dedicated 'fanboy' (well, as much as you can in two weeks...), it's now my mission to spread the word to ensure as many people as possible hear the brilliance they have to offer!
With several recommendations to check out their delightful jangly sound, the debut record became an instant favourite of mine. It was clear from the off that they'd produced one of the most addictive records I'd heard in a long time.
Why's that then? Championed by the likes of 6Music and actor Robert Carlyle (and you certainly can't not take the advice of Trainspotting's Begbie), their debut is full of proper heartwarming indie-pop anthems to brighten up your day and allow for a moment of reflection. The harmonies are fantastic, inspired by the likes of Ride, The Stone Roses, The Smiths and Teenage Fanclub.
Recorded between March 2019 and August 2020 at Raffer Studios in Kent, The Shop Window's debut album features heartfelt and joyful indie rock that harks back to both the 80s/90s. It's a timeless sound.
It opens with the brilliantly hooky and poignant 'Mannequin Lies', whilst tracks like 'Flags' and 'Evacuate' are warm, jangly and singalong anthems with riffs that'll get stuck in your head for hours. '2nd Book' is the most funky on offer, definite 'Fools Gold' vibes, though the ominous sounding 'Out of Reach' was a clear favourite.
The backstory to the band is certainly an interesting one. The Shop Window "partners in crime"/bandmates, Carl Mann and Simon 'Syd' Oxlee originally landed a record deal over two decades ago under the musical project Westpier. However, the band folded and the two went their separate ways. Carl began working with artists as varied as Sleeper and Kylie Minogue, playing guitar during her live performances and going on tour with the legendary Australian pop star.
In 2019, the two reconnected after Carl decided to move back to the UK after a period living in New Zealand. Soon, alongside old friends Martin Corder (bass) and Phil Elphee (drums), they produced six songs in a recording studio session. Realising they had something good going on, they started working on a debut album as The Shop Window.
And how glad we are that they did. It's hard to ignore the amazing infectiousness and warmth that these songs offer, taking you on an emotive journey from start to finish.
One of the other things that makes them unique is the fact that they're very much an underground, DIY band. Without management, they only rely on Spinout Nuggets record label to facilitate their releases and give them a hand with promo.
They're doing things by their own rules and aren't a slave to anyone. The Shop Window are a band that truly deserves to go places, backed by an amazing story of reconciliation and emotion.
I can't get enough of it. Now please also help spread the word.