A mellow set for a strong septet.
Recommended Tracks: ‘How To Stop An Imploding Man’ & ‘Living’
Shy and the Fight aren’t your average Alt. Folk band; this septet hailing from Chester and North Wales, bring forward an unusual mix of instruments forward for their debut EP Living, for a unique twist to the regular acoustic folk sounds across the track list, whether it be the soft, if sometimes discordant, strings combination in ‘Specks Of Blue’, or the fuzzy electric guitar that introduces the toe-tappingly infectious ‘How To Stop An Imploding Man’; having already received huge praise from BBC Radio Wales, it is clear that this band are growing.
Undoubtedly the strongest song on the album is the lead track ‘How To Stop An Imploding Man’, reminding me of an indie version of ‘New York Girls’ by Bellowhead with the catchy infectiousness of Mumford and Sons ‘Little Lion Man’ or Frank Turner’s ‘Photosynthesis’, with the dirty bluegrass intro fast and quick skiffle-strumming new age folk delivers so well, it’s a shame it’s the only faster song on the EP, although other songs are also strong. Listening to the different melodies playing off one another in ‘Living’ sets such a relaxed ambience throughout the track, with the soft plucking contrasting nicely to the brash entrance to ‘How To Stop An Imploding Man’ at the start of the EP, effectively using the band’s wide range of vocals to great effect by bringing in light harmonies to shadow the strings throughout most of the song, before bringing the quicker rocky drum-beats back for the closing section, and ‘Prayer For The Faithless’, with solemn story-telling lyrics painting picture after picture, with the singer’s solemn voice complementing the guitar’s evocative refrain.
On the other hand, the wide range of vocal talent the band clearly has, evident in ‘How To Stop An Imploding Man’ and ‘Living’, and it feels a little under-used on the other tracks. Granted with ballads like ‘Prayer For The Faithless’, a lone voice is enough to convey the song’s lyrical story, but with the equally talented vocalists being left under-demonstrated on most of the tracks, it leaves something a little bit lacking.
This is most definitely an EP for all the contemporary folkies dancing merrily away to Slow Club and early Frank Turner. An interesting mix of the intricate stories and the rawcous campfire sing-a-longs, and, it must be said, rather amazing sleeve art, worth checking out if your more Laura Marling than Megadeath.