Cheeky young scallywags Shinies from Manchester caused a stir with the release of several early tracks, their blend of shoegaze pop (or ‘shitpop’ according to the band) turning heads aplenty. But it was the japesters’ accompanying videos that really got people talking, including national newspapers.
Crime was embraced within a couple of such films, from donning paper bags whilst ransacking the local corner shop for Shola whilst Ennui went, in the eyes of a few prudes, too far as it depicted the kidnapping of, in the band’s own words, a now “washed up 50 year old bloke” in the shape of Pat Sharp; and yes, that is the same Pat Sharp that achieved dubious pop fame as part of the duo Pat And Mick from the late ‘80s. Although many that remember the fleeting pop star/DJ/TV presenter would gladly assist in such an abduction for his blond mullet alone, they probably wouldn’t go so far as to tie him to a raft and set it alight… would they?
Fast forward a couple of years and their long awaited debut album is here and they’ve once again enlisted the help of Hookworms’ MJ on production duties, the singer having previously teamed up with the Mancs for their first EP, Tangle, in 2013. Sadly, the collection only occasionally hits the heights hinted at by the very promising early tracks, the first of which, Spent Youth, reappears in revamped form. In comparison with its companions, it’s punchier, faster and goes for the jugular with infectious guitaring passages alongside warm chord changes, emitting a whiff of The Stone Roses somewhere along the way.
The other eight tracks on the album achieve varying levels of success. There’s another hint of The Stone Roses for the dreamy shoegaze opener Pamona (Intro) and it creates an impression of something rather special approaching. The title track follows, plenty of hi-hat tied to a pacey rhythm with spacey distorted guitar and wailing vocal tones completing an interesting picture, but it lacks distinct melody. The poppier Waves was released in December and it fares much better, its opening recalling Future Islands’ breakthrough single Seasons (Waiting On You) before more spacey guitar and a catchy chorus clearly reveals all four members’ love of the six strings.
Soak ushers in on a wave of heavily distorted vocals, warped guitar and plodding beat, the layers of fuzz obscuring a decent melody almost entirely from view. 6’s & 7’s meanwhile benefits from a big chorus where chiming guitars soar but vocals sound a little weak; Beached is built around an infectious fuzzy guitar riff to provide one of the biggest highlights but best of all by a hundred country miles is de C. The monotonous, persistent rhythm, superb dual guitar interweaving inbetween vocal sections is thrilling, falling somewhere between producer MJ’s Hookworms, Mazes and Toy and you have to wonder what the bloody hell the producer was doing when he apparently told the band to chop the track right down. It was born out of a lengthy jam but honestly, at just under four minutes it’s over too soon and the track should have been left to flow; it’s so good it could go on for days and still sound riveting.
It will indeed be a crime if Shinies fail to flourish; Nothing Like Something Happens Anywhere represents a tentative first step after outstanding early promise and you can’t help but wonder why. Lack of striking melodies is an obvious shortcoming, and vocals could be stronger but on that note, MJ’s own lack of vocal prowess has had little negative effect for Hookworms’ two stunning albums. But this is a band that should not have their best moments shackled, but rather one that needs to be free to fly – and if they’re let off the leash, that’s exactly what’s going to happen.