Album Review : The Sherlocks ‘Live for the moment’
Hello there. If you would like to read an impersonal review, one which avoids narcissistic commentary and is missing an opening autobiography about the authors experience with the Indie Defence League, then hop over to the Rotherham Advertiser or the Sheffield Star. You may not desire a glimpse into my own self-important mind, and if that is the case, then skip ahead or close the tab. For those still with us, I hope you’re here to listen to what I must say, rather than comment about how I don’t “get it” or that I “don’t get the style”.
I’m going to be blunt. I do get it. I understand where bands like The Sherlocks are coming from. It is not hard to understand a genre or a band, and me not liking the same things as you does not mean I do not get it. To assume so is to invalidate my experience. I have immersed myself into that culture. If the only retort you have regarding my opinions equates to “you just don’t get it”, then all you have proved to me is that you are the one who doesn’t get it. You do not understand musical discourse. You do not understand the objective of my reviews. I am not Rolling Stone. I am not BBC Radio 4. I am Joshua Stephen Bell, and individual with varying opinions and experiences. You have no right to dictate to me what I can and cannot say.
I write these reviews not to tell people how right I am, or claiming to be objective. I am not expecting to assert a musical superiority.
These reviews are my musical journals, my reviews extend only to the confines and the context of my own mind. If I say something bad about the Sherlocks, then you do not have to agree with me. I am not expecting that my readers think the same way as I. Rather, I HOPE that you all think differently from one another, an aspect of music I love the most. Hopefully that one can be drilled into your Brexit brain. We can have differing opinions. I can hate “Live for the Moment” or I can love it. As can you. If you take my reviews seriously, then try reducing the amount of sodium in your diet. I am Hunter S. Thompson, not Gav from NME. I am the raging apocalypse indulging self-important opinions. I am omni. I am the dark sky on a moonless midnight.
You are insignificant to how I feel. I do not write my reviews to please and to kiss the bald heads of those “music fans” who would discourage and disparage those who think differently. If you have gotten this far, then I know I am already talking to someone who agrees with me. The hotheads have already started to type their comments on the Facebook post, faces a nice plump red, explaining how pretentious and full of shit I am. They are not wrong, but they are.
Shall we get to the music? The Sherlocks are a band that I have never enjoyed. I used to be a big Courteeners fan, so naturally when someone told me that I should check out this fresh new band, I leaped at the chance to do so. Only when I did, I wasn’t listening to The Sherlocks. I was listening to 00s Indie music, collectively amalgamated into a package that would be easily digestible to an enormous range of musical fans. Is this bad? Of course not. It takes a tremendous amount of skill and willpower to achieve such a feat. If you can replicate the sounds of your influencers whilst adding your own pot of saffron, then hats off. You deserve all the success in the world.
My compliments for the Sherlocks do not end there, surprisingly.
There is a level of dedication that you must appreciate. A lot of folks will argue that The Sherlocks had it easy because they’re “funded” by the Bank of Dads and that their success is bought. But so what? How many of you spent three or four years grafting multiple nights a week which involved rehearsals, cover-band gigs, and general management? Not many of you. How many of you turned this bubbly reputation into a driving force for original music? None of you. None of you who bitterly address the Sherlocks as inferior musicians are enjoying the same amounts of success as they are.
“Live for the moment” for me, is an album which marks a definitive point in history for The Sherlocks. It is a consolidation of the last 7 years of their lives. It means something to them which can never be properly transferred to us, the listeners. However, we can strive to extrapolate musical nourishment from the album. So how does “Live for the Moment” stand up to this contest of nourishment?
My first note is that generally, the album lacks variety. Each track is vaguely similar but enough so the album ceases to be thematic, using the same formula to drive it forward. This for me shows a lack of imagination. You can do tremendous amounts with Indie music, but The Sherlocks have fallen short in providing an album which explores, interprets, and develops the genre. Instead of being a driving force of progress, The Sherlocks represent the Rose-Tinted Glasses of guitar music. They are the kind of band who might wish they were bringing out this debut in 2003 rather than 2017. They are the Stone Roses reunion.
They are the calls for Oasis to reform. This point has a purpose, be assured. Upon listening to the album for a second time, I felt a profound sense of lethargy, a sense of “I’ve been here before, it’s nice, but I want to move on”. Some albums offer differing experiences each time you listen, you may catch something you’ve never noticed before, or a different song will strike you as “the best”. But with “Live for the Moment” I got very tired of the album very quickly. This is a symptom of the style, more than anything, as The Sherlocks are already playing with a slowly dated sound. By my 4th or 5th listen, the album was a drag. It was tedious to listen to.
If you are looking for this kind of familiar kind of cut and paste vibe, this album is for you, and could be album of the year.
Engaging further with the concept of a lack of imagination, the guitar work felt very bland. The same high on the fret board screeching occurs in each song, with similar chord sequences throughout. Not once did the band stray from the path of their concrete genre which proves to be a shortcoming of this album. There is a very finite number of notes and methods used, it makes for easy listening. So, these points could be considered positive or negative, depending on the listeners taste. For me it left the album in tepid waters.
However, if I were to judge the overall song writing capabilities, they would place above average. This is not bad music. It is simply the marmite of popular listening. I hate to use such a horrendous cliché, but talking about an album which utilises cliché as its main source of power, it feels appropriate.
If I were to pick a favourite song, “Blue” stood out to me. It had me tapping my foot and swaying my head. It felt like the song with the most artistic variety, despite it still being trapped within the claustrophobic shell that the album itself is by nature. The expressive vocals and genuine lyrics made a subtle change to the rest of the album, and the slowly descending mood which transpires across the album harbours much potential. Some of my favourite twinkly guitar work of the album also makes an appearance on this track. I would love to hear what the band thinks about this track, in comparison to their singles.
At times, there are some shaky performances which really isn’t adequate for a big-label band who could potentially be headlining festivals in 5 years (I am not a Sherlocks fan but I will not discredit their mass appeal). The vocal performances on some of the tracks left me scratching my head because other tracks on the album had perfectly sung vocals, which made me wonder why a re-take didn’t happen. This album could have done with some more fine-tuning generally, as the mix in places is quite insecure and inconsistent.
Another redeeming quality about this album (fcuk me, is this album getting a 9/10??) is its length. This is a super-deep cut. There are 12 full length tracks which offer and produce an entire contained experience. I’ve noticed that quality and quantity have been fluctuating in new releases, with some albums offering very little in terms of content compared to “Live for the Moment”. You can tell the lads have spent a long time crafting 12 tracks they feel worthy of their own stand-alone releases. In terms of generic Indie, they have done a good job as any this point in their career, and it is admirable that they could have released an 8-track album with songs not as long, and probably to the same critical acclaim and reception by fans, but chose the tougher path. Nonetheless, linking this back to my other points, the length of this album can be gruelling. I would only recommend this album if you’re certain you can sit through an hour of, despite being professional, generically uninteresting music.
As to not make this review a novella’s length, I will wrap everything up and end on a few closing statements.
This record is not bad. This record delivers something that a lot of people are looking for.
For me, this album was average, almost painfully so. There is nothing special about this album, but neither is there anything particularly shocking about it. I wouldn’t say I enjoyed this album, but it is easy to see how millions easily could.