Album of the Month – The Shop Window – The State of Being Human

Jangle pop what a great word that is – the euphoric sound of layered guitars and vocals coming together to create a sound that harks back to a bygone age when Indie was great, and all the cool kids were playing it.

But first a history lesson – C86 was an album that many of us old enough to remember adored, chocked full of great jangle pop bands and tunes. It set a benchmark as the likes of The Mighty Lemon Drops, Bogshed, Big Flame became household names – Hmm – Ok but it did feature Primal Scream, The Pastels and Wedding Present and a load of other indie superstars so don’t panic.

Initially, it was heralded by the NME but then torn apart by them, Melody Maker and Sounds in the fine tradition of build them up and knock them down- well where are they now!

What was this music then? – was it just floppy fringed, Breton shirt, tight jean wearing spotty kids that strapped on their Rickenbacker’s and made introspective life affirming pop music that owed as much to the 60’s bands of Love and The Byrds as it did to New Wave punk bands and even the funk of chic!
Well in a nutshell yes it is.

Derided it was for many a year but as Jangle pop morphed into more grungier sounds (Teenage Fanclub), Shoegaze (Ride) and even Baggy (The High) in the early 90s to name just a few – bands continued to furrow this rich vein of music and now it’s had a bit of a renaissance.  With no music press of note to criticize, music lovers were allowed to make up their own minds and no surprise it’s a big YES!

Remember some of the great bands of our time, REM, Primal Scream, The Stone Roses all have their early music encased in this sound and now coming straight out of Maidstone, The Shop Window are here to remind us just what makes great indie guitar music great and have put it all in a mixing pot thrown in some New Order, a touch of The Cure, gave it a good stir and are releasing their debut album for all of you to enjoy.

And enjoy it you will. From the start off with Mannequin Lies your jigging along and wondering how majestical this sound is – they even mention the band name in the song you point. How cool is that!The album is interspersed with the singles you should already know – Evacuate, the Ride meets The Cure single from last year, the heartfelt and majestical Sad Eyes, written about 100+ year old Nanna Shop Window – how many albums have a song about their Nan in it?

Out of Reach clearly the front runner for the best song written about lock down and the pandemic whilst managing to sound completely joyous like it’s been played at every indie disco for the last 35 years. “Papers say the times are a changing, I don’t even know what day it is” sings lead singer and guitarist Carl Shopwindow. A perfect line for these times.

Well, what of the new songs – tracks like Ride it while you can with its funky bass, keyboards and New Order type guitar, Break down the walls is another great uplifting chorus, Calling out which is like Pounding by Doves show a more diverse sound to the Shoppy’s, adding in more keyboards and electro sounds – very much like early New Order which may give an inkling to where the group go next for album 2.

For me, the non-single highlights are Flags and 2nd Book – both show a maturity in song writing that sets these lads apart from many others.

The overall feel of the album is one that deals with the passing of time and our own mortality whilst also making sure you continue to connect with family, it’s quite an emotional album at times, with lyrics that deal with life, love and lockdown with aplomb.

But don’t get me wrong – it’s still an album to pogo to and sing loudly in the car – I have done both and recommend it. Like The Smiths and The Cure before them – there’s joy in melancholy.

This album I really hope gets to be heard by many – it would be great to know students and new n old indie kids are getting into it and restore Jangle pop to its rightful place amongst the indie genre elite.

For me I’m off to wash my Breton shirt and slightly loser jeans.

The state of being human is available now at BandCamp and directly from Spin
Out Nuggets website. Don’t just look through the shop window – come inside and pick a few copies up.

Let me know what you think

Peace N Love

Michael

https://theshopwindow.bandcamp.com/album/the-state-of-being-human

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