the shills | AAA Music
aaamusic | On 01, Jun 2010
The Shills formed around childhood friends Ed Bateson, Dickon Collinson, Rob D’Ath, and brothers Olly and Tom Yates in Cambridge. In 2008 they released their debut single, ‘Raison d’être’, with independent Cambridge label, R*E*P*E*A*T records. Shortly after its release, they were discovered by London based Strummerville (The Joe Strummer Foundation for New Music) who gave them artist of the week and posted the single on-line. ‘Raison d’être’ went on to become one of the most downloaded songs in Strummerville’s history.
The Shills spent the latter half of 2008 touring the UK appearing with acts such as Yeti, Tom Hingley, Five O’Clock Heroes and Patrick Jones before being approached by music producer Roger Fife, to record a second single. Their second single, ‘Apparition’, was released in March 2009 with ‘Globalnet Records’ achieving plaudits from BBC Radio, The NME, Artrocker, Organ magazine and caught the attention of Dave Halliwell, former manager of the Verve and The Beta Band who said that “The Shills have one of the most distinctive and original voices around.” After the success of ‘Apparition’, Strummerville asked The Shills to perform as part of Mick Jones’ Rock’n’Roll Public Library exhibition under the west way before heading north to Manchester to perform as part of the world-renowned fringe festival ‘In the City’ in the shadow of Granada Studios.
In late 2009, Cambridge based five piece, the Shills went into the studio to record their EP with Roger Fife, (Cyndi Lauper, Tricky, Manic Street Preachers, Anthony and the Johnsons). The result, ’Sweet Inertia’, contains four brave, incendiary rock n roll tracks that demand your attention. Each song that makes up their new release positively throbs with fervour, intelligence and frustration forged of their lives in a dead end, Satellite town. Opener ‘Sweet Inertia’ is the most immediate tune on the EP, an urgent kick-start, fired into life by infectious licks supplied by Olly Yates and Rob D’Ath and the heart pounding rhythms of bassist Dickon Collinson and drummer Ed Bateson. While front man Tom Yates’s keening, vocals arc wonderfully between the tremolo of Elvis Costello and the unstoppable passion of Joe Strummer on its inspired chorus line, replete with anthemic ‘ooh ahh’ backings and cart wheeling guitars that burn into its outro. ‘Sweet Inertia’ is an undeniable, slab of artful melodic rock, redolent of the Buzzcocks and The Smiths. The Shills talk about the song’s inspiration here: Without our band we lack any kind of purpose, focus, or means of expressing our frustration. We use our band to convey and deliver us from our frustration; it is a vehicle to release us from our inertia. Music will always give us such a release. We want our music to give others the same release.
Second track ‘Realpolitik’ tumbles into life all early Manic Street Preachers-esque riffs and twitchy drums. Now Yates’s impassioned tone is redolent of Eddie Cochran all twangy lip curling tales of youthful angst in the verses, before releasing frustration in a roar of defiance in its chorus refrains (“Free from the conjecture free from all the lies/Much to my distress/and much to my surprise.’) Third track ‘Tell me what I really want’ hives into view, cascading guitars and shotgun rhythms, hollered backing vocals, and biting leads; it’s thrilling. Closer ‘Long, Still Night’ meanwhile is more sedate, atmospheric guitars, and affecting, world weary lyrics, give life to the sound of that slumping feeling you get when the party’s over. The new Shills EP ‘Sweet Inertia’ is a defiant statement of intent, a vital mixture of post-punk intelligence and rock n roll swagger. It’s a shot at an apathetic music industry, a rallying cry that will get your feet moving whilst, like all the best rock bands, possessing that innate ability to vocalise your disaffection, to climb inside your head and make you think. The Shills made the following statement,
“Contemporary music is moderate; we want to put some intelligence and fervour back into rock’n’roll. The bands we love, and will always love, have all been urgent, ardent, and crucial – crucial to the lives of their members, even if they haven’t always been crucial to everybody else. We hate the insipid music that is the soundtrack to 21st century life. We stand against the evil that is banality.”
The Shills will support their new EP “Sweet Inertia” with a series of UK dates, click here to find out
Including a support slot with Zane Lowe’s new favourite band, The Heartbreaks.
Watch the video here: