Shed Seven were the perennial underachieving Britpop also-rans, who had a ridiculous misconception of their own importance and ability, and, lest we forget, were the band who, somewhat embarrassingly, re-appropriated their own song for The Link advert (you know the one; “at The Link it’s easy, easy” !). But, hold on a moment. Dig a little deeper and you’ll find an actually pretty bloody successful band with a whole raft of stone-cold classic pop tunes.
First of all, a few stats for you (cheers Wiki):
– 15 top 40 singles
– 4 top 20 albums
– in 1996 the Sheddoes had more chart hits than any other band!
– played with Ride, Elastica, Oasis etc and got to number one in Thailand, beating Take That to the top spot !
When the Sheds first came out, they were thought to be a brash, laddish breath of fresh air as they faced down their contemporaries, Oasis, with a sneer (despite singer Rick Witter’s alleged 26 inch waist !). As they evolved as a band though, it quickly became clear to the more sensitive of us Britpop kids that there was something deeper and more longer-lasting at work. Comparisons with Suede and the Smiths abounded and the band responded in kind by making their songs more epic and grandiose and tempering their confidence with a sensitivity and attention to detail lacking in most of their peers.
They were rewarded for their efforts with two amazing albums: the debut “Changegiver” and follow up “A Maximum High” and a string of singles that won them more and more fans (mostly in Thailand!) and played an important part in expanding the Britpop blueprint beyond its initial limited range.
The problem was, that even to their fans, they were perhaps their fourth or fifth favourite band! Although they charted, it was inevitably number 27 with a bullet! Despite their illustrious peers, they were quickly left behind, not helped by the music press (mainly the NME) backlash against them, which always seemed so unjustified to me. They fizzled out in a boring cycle of poorly-received albums, label problems, ‘musical differences’ between band members and increasingly rubbish songs.
They reformed in 2007 and played sold-out shows to nostalgic fans in their early 30s across the UK, finally getting a tiny bit of the recognition they deserved at the time.
Although I wasn’t a full-fledged Shed Head (sorry Chris!), I remember arriving at university in my brand new Shed Seven t-shirt, proudly displaying my affection for the lads. As their sound grew and their songs became more ambitious and well executed, and as Top of the Pops performances followed, I supported them wholeheartedly and only jumped off the bandwagon as their disappointing third album (“Let It Ride”) failed to deliver any tunes whatsoever.
Their appreciation is long overdue in my book, so get some slightly flared needle cords from Oxfam, pull on a skinny fit fake 70s football top, lie back and listen to some of the best and most underrated indie-pop tunes of the 90s, or any other decade!