The Shades make their debut with big hooks, big promise

The Shades at Bedfest  in Knaresborough. (Picture by Stuart Rhodes)
The Shades at Bedfest in Knaresborough. (Picture by Stuart Rhodes)

Review by Graham Chalmers

The Shades EP

I loved this band live when I was a judge at the final of the annual AMP Awards at the start of the year, not because they were perfect, far from it.

The Shades looked great on the big stage of the Royal Hall. They were all big hooks, big quiffs, dark glasses, lamee suits and attitude - like The Killers if they’d decided to be a sloppy hard rock band.

Their debut EP largely lives up to the live hype, highlighting all this relatively inexperienced young band’s strengths and weaknesses.

It all comes together best in this promising five-track collection on Jump The Gun.

A terrific heart-on-sleeve ballad with a great tune, gorgeous sub-Jimi Hendrix guitar lines and appealingly honest vocals by frontman Will Vessey, it’s easily the single best individual song on the EP.

Other strong, genre-mixing moments include Crystal Rain, a hook-laden, likably dishevelled, non-stop, big-riffed, romantic rock track with ambitious old skool lead guitar lines and tangy, poppy synths, and Miss Interpretation, a tough and tender, constantly shape-shifting marriage of fruity indie pop and classic rock.

Overall, this brassy six-piece teenage outfit from King James’s School in Knaresborough would do well to inject even more dash and speed and oomph into their performance.

They could also do with being a bit tighter, though that should come with experience.

One thing’s for sure, whatever they do, they musn’t stop going for the emotional jugular in a Shades-ian fashion.

In rock n roll, character is king.

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