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Is Shepherd - Ascendez-Vous

  by Kelly Smith

published: 27 / 8 / 2008

Is Shepherd - Ascendez-Vous
Label: Is Shepherd
Format: CDS


Impressive mini-album debut CD from distinctive-sounding Newcastle indie group Is Shepherd

Silly name. That was my first thought, and I know you’re not supposed to go on first impressions, but that’s what I thought, and it’s probably better to get that out the way now, because I didn’t want it to silently eat away at me whilst I was listening. 'Ascendez-Vous' is the first release from Newcastle-based Is Shepherd, and by their own admission they’re a bit of a mash-up of different musical styles, influences and experiences. Whatever it is, it seems to be working. Nothing on the album sounds too contrived, and it’s apparent that blending styles comes very naturally to them. Album opener 'Time' is a great track, which combines really sweet-sounding vocals from singer Andy Brown with a fairly simple melody… Really, everything you need to make a nice little pop song. I’m sure that this reminds me of a band at the more experimental end of the indie spectrum, but it escapes me... Maybe this proves that in fact, Is Shepherd are one of those bands who are familiar, and yet completely new all on their own. 'Waitress' is an upbeat indie-pop ditty, which wouldn’t sound out of place anywhere in the mainstream music scene, now that the lines separating the alternative and popular music worlds are so blurred that only T4 presenters know the acute differences between genres. It’s a brilliantly accessible song, and could easily be one of the "I-recognise-that-it’s-off-an-advert" tunes which start off as an underground hit but six months later if you haven’t heard it, your friends no longer know you. 'On/Off' has a catchy riff and start off with a promising pace, but fails to really build to something, which might be the point, but for me Is Shepherd have missed an opportunity to create something more anthemic. Live, I imagine this song sets a pace it doesn’t intend to maintain, though they get away with it on this mini-album without leaving me disappointed. On reflection, I don’t even think the name is that silly any more. I think anything else might have led you to a genre to which they don’t belong, and don’t wish to be labelled as. 'Ascendez-Vous' comprises five songs by a band who clearly know what they’re doing, even if they’re not sure of the end result yet. Their experimental stylings work for me, and that’s just about all there is to it.

Track Listing:-
1 Time
2 Waitress
3 Hit The Horizontal
4 On/ Off
5 Stretcher Bearer

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