Review: Shelby

Shelby are an indie band. What more can I say? It was this sort of music that killed off the whole brit pop indie thing in the first place. They are not Blur. They are not Pulp. They are not Suede. The best comparison that can be made is with Sleeper. Without the pizzazz.

The song “Hey There” is all very nice and pleasant enough: a longing to return to the good old days of when “we were all so young…never had to worry/and never had to be so sad/just doing what we liked”. But it all seems a little one dimensional – as if they are trapped in a mid nineties time warp.

When Jarvis Cocker suggested meeting up at “the fountain down the road”, there was a bitterness about how his dreams failed, even while he was dreaming them. When Damon Albarn sang of the fun loving world of the 18-30 holiday in “Girls and Boys”, there was always the lingering threat of getting “nasty blisters”.

But there is none of this with the Shelby song, just a pathetic plea of “return to me”, accompanied by a whimsical guitar played by someone who reckons he should have been in the Housemartins.

Ultimately, Shelby seem to be a perfect definition of bad indie bands: forever focussed on a halcyon past that is as irritating as your grandfather telling you another war story.

5 November 2002

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