Shields are from the north east of England and tend to define their music as “alternative pop.” The quirky five-piece have been busy building up a live following for quite a few years now – supporting, among others, Placebo and Everything Everything – and have also performed at Glastonbury and at a BBC Radio 6 Music festival in their hometown of Newcastle. Next month will see the launch of their debut album.
Entitled How Can We Fix This?, this 10-track record was produced by Adrian Bushby (known for his work with Muse and the Foo Fighters) and is Shields’ first collection of new material since their second EP, the critically acclaimed Kaleidoscope, in 2012. Interestingly, it was recorded entirely in the band’s home studio.
The breezy “Technicolour” gets things off to a pretty solid start. “Come Unstuck” is up next and is also fairly enjoyable, its synthesiser vaguely recalling the now distant 1980s. Track three, “Mezzanine,” was included on the aforementioned Kaleidoscope EP – deservedly receiving praise from Kylie for its memorable video – and is quite a groovy little number.
No song really caught my attention again until the really rather good title track (without a doubt the LP’s best moment) got my foot a-tapping. “Again and Again” and “Alive” (the latest single) are further high points. The last track, “I Don’t Know What You Want,” is one of the most ’80s-sounding tunes on here – something that definitely counts in its favour.
Various media outlets, including The Guardian and the aforementioned BBC Radio 6 Music, have enthusiastically sung Shields’ praises in the past, and they obviously know something I don’t because in all honesty listening to this I struggled to share their enthusiasm. For me, this is a perfectly satisfactory album from an act whose creativity I admire, but nothing more.
How Can We Fix This? will be available to buy or download from February 26.