Music Reviews

Nothing In The Morning: Britpop Is Back

We loved the new E.P. by Red Shakes so much we thought we'd have a closer look at it!

 If you are yet to hear about Leeds-based band, Red Shakes, there is no better time than right now. The solo project of 20-year-old Sam Da Silva, this E.P. is something truly special. While there are certainly standout tracks, I can honestly say that there are none that disappoint in any way. To put it simply, this is a quintessentially British record in all the right ways. There are clear inspirations from the likes of Oasis, Arctic Monkeys and Circa Waves, and alongside Da Silva’s versatile voice, they all combine to create a collection of songs that were made for an indie summer.

Sam Da Silva

The E.P. has an intelligent way of taking you on a journey without you realising you ever left the station. There are musical highs, like in “It’s Not the Same” with its soaring guitars and chanted choruses; but there is also an element of modern cynicism in its lyrics that puts Red Shakes’ music right in line with how a lot of young people feel these days. This is where the magic happens, this is lively, energetic Britpop with a heart, tackling issues in a way that doesn’t quite brush them off, but doesn’t make them so central to the songs that they bring the listener down in any way. It’s more of an eclectic melancholia to some extent.

“This is a quintessentially British record in all the right ways”

 Another standout track is the AM-esque “New Year’s Eve”. This is where we see a completely different side of Da Silva’s voice. There is a warmth to his voice, showing a maturity well beyond his years; and the ambiguous nonchalance of the simple instrumentation, his vocal delivery and the lyrics make for a song that is so effortlessly personal and raw and definitely one that I know will be featured on so many “Quiet”, or “Thinking” Spotify playlists.
 
 From a musical perspective, they clearly knew what they were going for when they went into the studio. Some albums or E.P.s are born in the studio; they go through many iterations or stages of trial and error; this one was not. This is by no means a criticism though, as there is a unity and consistency to every track on this record that is often missing on today’s offers. So many can feel like all the work has gone into only the money-making singles, while the rest gets the leftovers, but not here. They knew what they wanted everything to sound like from the off and they achieved. It is produced to as close to perfection as you can achieve at this level.

 Da Silva and Red Shakes are still a work in progress though, and this is by no means a perfect record; regardless of the many compliments I have for it. There are some lyrics that could have used a little longer in the editing room, and a few moments where Da Silva’s voice gets lost in the music more than I’d like, but these will all improve with time and confidence. The one part of this that irks me the most I think, is how much potential there is in this record. This one-track mind that they had going into the studio has definitely created a strong record, but maybe it forgot to leave room for the kind of experimentation that can take something from great to a whole other plane of being.

I think the potential is there, and that is what makes “Nothing In The Morning” and Red Shakes so exciting. They have only been releasing music since last year, and to have already created something like this in such a short time leads me to believe that it will not be long before they are a household name. There is so much to love on this record, and I take my hat off to Da Silva and co. for this. I highly recommend this to anyone, regardless of your thoughts on the genre, because when something’s this good, you just have to appreciate it.

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