In Defence of……….Shed Seven !

After semi-successful defences of Menswe@r and Guns’N’Roses, I thought I’d up the ante by attempting to defend the (perceived) mediocre !

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!

26 thoughts on “In Defence of……….Shed Seven !

  1. Blimey, this is a brave attempt! Who next? Sleeper?! Despite being a regular Popstarz attendee around this time, I would struggle now to name you a single Shed Seven song. Bit tied up right now, but will have a listen later…

      • I have at least three tracks by them on my iPod: Nice Guy Eddie (great), Inbetweener (pretty good), their cover of Blondie’s Atomic (atrocious).

      • My pseudonym is barbryn and I am a Sleeper fan.

        Well… I have and very occasionally still listen to their second album and the “Romeo Me” single. Think I still have the first one on cassette somewhere. They had a good half dozen excellent pop sings. Although I did see them live at the Summer of Britpop Glastonbury, and they were very boring.

  2. I always liked ’em. Never bought an album, but they had some cracking singles. “Some of the best and most underrated indie-pop tunes of the 90s, or any other decade!” might be a tad OTT, but there’s definitely a cohort of a certain age who get misty eyed whenever they hear “Chasing Rainbows”.

    My brother was recently celebrating the engagement of a friend who was a big Shed Seven fan, and they found themselves in the same bar as Rick Witter, who ended up buying them a bottle of champagne. Nice bloke, apparently.

  3. Getting Better: It’s mainly the lyrics that bother me. “And the streets are alive with the sound of music”… Nearly clever in terms of referencing stuff an’ that, but so obvious as to sound meaningless/trite. And the backing track sounds like an everything-and-the-kitchen-sink shambles.

    Chasing Rainbows: Better. Less busy. Nice tune. Yeah, I quite like this. Don’t remember it though.

    Where Have You Been Tonight?: Sounds a bit effortful in terms of the songwriting.

    Going For Gold: Better than any song that calls to mind Henry Kelly has a right to be.

    Bully Boy: They’re all starting to sound a bit samey now. Ooh, a children’s choir. Hm.

    Parallel Lines: I clearly prefer their quieter numbers (or just every other track in this list!). Less relentless-sounding. Still not sold on the lyrics though. A bit ‘rhyming dictionary’/big book of cliche. Ooh, it’s got loud. Not enjoying it so much now. And it goes on a bit…

    Sorry, panth! Didn’t mean/expect to be so negative. It’s not that these songs are bad; they just sound a bit blokey and workmanlike and uninspired to me. I’d rather have the glammy androgyny of Brett and co. Or even the Smiths-stealing Gene.

  4. I come without predjudice, never heard of them before. Decent enough stuff, all very listenable to me. Going for Gold my favorite of the bunch. I’m overall going to have to go with Bish’s final assessment, but not as harsh. If i had heard the songs as singles instead of all at the same time, they may have grabbed me a bit more.

    • I followed the slinmimg world plan and was very dubious because I seemed to be eating more than normal but was amazed when the weight started to fall off. I like the fact that you can pile your plate high with foods like pasta and not have to measure it out and still lose loads of weight week after week.

  5. I always respect a bold defence of the perennially unfashionable, for obvious reasons. I remember a few singles, I seem to remember thinking Getting Better and Speakeasy were quite good – I might have a listen late, but I’m indulging in an eaerly Simple Minds session at the moment.

  6. Just confirming my preconceptions that Brit pop was mostly hype & little substance, finding this a bit shallow & uninspiring, I’m afraid.

    • Sorry J-Pants. Would probably have more affection for this stuff if was in the UK at the time. Anyway, You can’t win ’em all.

  7. [if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything… if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything… if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything…]

  8. allright, allright… all win ! Maybe they were a bit rubbish…..!

    I’ll stand by ‘Chasing Rainbows’ though……and they were better than Northern Uproar !

  9. i loved um…. i still do…. and in December im taking my 11 year old to his first gig at Parr Hall Warrington to watch them…. coz he loves um 2 🙂 each to there own and all that…. you love them…. you love them not…. you love them… you love them not 🙂

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