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In 1998 Shed seven released their third studio album and other than the greatest hits album this is probably my favourite of all the bands releases before they decided to split up in 2003. The album itself was recorded in London and the 5 piece from York certainly delivered an album to be proud of.
The album opens with the track, "Return". It starts with a slow guitar intro building out of the silence for a short time, before the tune really gets going and the vocals come in to join the guitars. The drums enter a little afterwards, with a solid beat, really giving it the early 90's Indie sound. Like on the first two albums Rick's voice is strong from the outset, with a track that's really easy going and a quality way to open an album. The song drifts along nicely being led by both the guitars and drums in equal measures. Superb start to the album.
After Return, comes the albums title track "Let It Ride". This one gets underway with the drums coming in straight away, being joined soon after by the guitars, then after a short introduction the vocals come in as well. Another easy going number the song really drifts along and with the simple lyrics you will soon find yourself singing along. The vocals have quite a strong presence on this track and the drums give them a good backing.
Following that we have "The Heroes". It's not the song by Bowie but instead the bands very own by the same name. It starts with a drum beat on its own before the keyboard comes in and the vocals joining in quite soon afterwards. A slow intro builds up a little more into the chorus where the guitars and the drums alter from just a beat into the actual song. A very laid back track it is a testament to the bands ability to write decent tracks. A much slower track than the last 2, Heroes builds nicely and throughout the song keeps a calming, relaxed beat all the way.
Then we have "Half Way Home", which is a bit more upbeat than Heroes. It opens with the vocals coming in straight away. Then the guitars come in quite soon afterwards accompanied by the drums, while Rick sings in his now unmistakable style. Although there are a few different styles of songs on this album, somehow he manages to make them all sound different without really changing anything within his voice. The whole song again is just a nice easy going effort, Ideal for a lazy Sunday afternoon in the sun like this.
Next we move on to "Devil In Your Shoes", its another cracking song that adds to the Shed's back catalogue. It starts a bit slower with the guitar on its own then joined by the drum. Before the vocals come in you can tell its going to be a slower mellow track, but it still sounds brilliant. The guitars really carry the vocals along, giving them a sense of drive and purpose, as Rick hits some high notes, but tries to keep it on a lower key. The guitars, during a short solo, sound fantastic and this is one of those tracks that shows of the talents of each band member.
The next song is my favourite by Shed and that is "She Left Me On Friday" released in March 1998. It starts with the guitars and drums giving the song a superb intro before the vocals come in. It's quite fast paced and again another easy going Indie track, that there's no reason why you can't enjoy it. Rick's vocals really bring the song to live but the guitars again sound brilliant in the background and the drums providing a good beat. Another track with a good instrumental section in the middle, which really adds to the enjoyment of the song.
"Hole" is a completely different style of track, it's a lot lighter and easy going than the other tracks on the album with drifting melodies and harmonic chords. It opens with the guitar and drum doing a strange sort of note, before the vocal comes in and they settle into a simple beat to carry the song along. The vocals really add something to the track, keeping it from drifting off into something that otherwise could have been pretty dire. Although the chorus is on the border line.
Track 8 is "Drink Your Love". It's another upbeat track that opens with loud guitars, quickly calming down into a nice slow beat accompanied by the vocals and drums. Although it has slowed down a little from the opening the track is still fairly lively with the drums playing an important role in the track. The vocals however really make the song with Rick's powerful vocals, adding a new dimension to the track. Again another easy to listen to track that's ideal for having on in the background while you are relaxing.
Then we have another favourite of mine from this album, "Stand Up And Be Counted". opening with a distorted guitar the drums join in quite soon afterwards, giving the track a good beat before the introduction of the vocals. Again Rick's vocals bring out the best in his lyrics, which really portray a confidence in the bands ability. The drum really brings the song along nicely, keeping time with ease and keeping all the other elements of the song in check.
Track 10, is the superb "Chasing Rainbows" another big fans favourite and a little mellower than Stand Up. It starts with the drum counting in before the guitars and vocals join within seconds of each other. A bit slower than the tracks before it, the song has a really powerful chorus and a good solid verse. The guitars give the track the main driving force that makes it such a favourite. Sounds better Live than on the album, which is a hard task. The vocals are very passionate and you almost feel the song touch a nerve within you, which adds a nice feel to the track. Again this is another track, which displays a great musical ability during a short instrumental section towards the end.
The last track on the album is "Goodbye", a fitting finale to the album, but not the end of the band by a long shot. It takes the pace of the album right down, with the guitars and drums bringing it in from a silent start. The vocals are then introduced for the first verse, at the end of which comes another short silent section before again the same combination takes over again. It's almost as if a lot of the album has been dedicated to the one that got away and this is Rick's way of getting closure. It's an easy song to listen to but probably the weakest one on the album.
Overall I do feel that this was the best album from the band before the split and certainly provided some of the best tracks on the greatest hits CD. The band have once again reformed to tour and whether there will be any new albums still to come remains to be seen but they will certainly have to go some to be able to beat this one.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
2 Let It Ride
4 Halfway Home
5 Devil In Your Shoes
6 She Left Me On Friday
8 Drink Your Love
9 Stand Up And Be Counted
10 Chasing Rainbows