Just when I thought I couldn’t love The Rising any more, they go and release this single and it’s not just because it’s a beautiful love song; but the ‘message’ is very brave for a young bunch of musicians from Northern Ireland; which is kinda crazy in 2018! It’s probably best if I let the band tell you what it’s about and why they are releasing it……….
“As they approached the filming of the video for the sensational Even The Stars Fall For You, the band realised that there was topic close to their heart that they wished to speak out about. “As a band we are firmly behind the equal rights for all citizens and quite frankly we are appalled by the notion that in these modern times that two people cant show their love for each other and get married. For us, it doesn’t matter what part of the LGBT spectrum you fall on, we believe that love is a very powerful thing and most people don’t find true love in their lifetime. So if two people find true love they should be able to express that love and get married if they wish.” With their album, Moving On, having been praised for its raw honesty, they wanted to maintain a real truth when showcasing Even The Stars Fall For You. “When coming up with concept ideas for this music video we knew that we wanted to have a literal story following the lyric. We also knew that we wanted to show a couple and put their love story on the screen. Whilst discussing this idea we came with the idea that it would be so much more believable and natural if we had a real couple in the video instead of just actors playing a part. Once we had this idea we immediately started thinking about who would be best to play this. There was only one real answer. One of the best couples we know; Rebecca McIntyre and Sarah J Gallagher.” With Rebecca having turned to Chris during a tough period in her life, the very early ideas that would become Even The Stars Fall For You can still be found on his filing system as Rebecca’s Song. Featuring her so prominently in the video was a natural decision for the trio. “When we were making this video Rebecca and Sarah J were very proud to show their love on camera and also stated that it is something that doesn’t get shown very often in music videos or in the media in general. This resonated with us as a band because we want to use our music to bring about change and make people think about world issues. It is also a very current topic in our home town of Belfast, Northern Ireland. As of today Northern Ireland is the only place in the UK and Ireland where marriage equality is not accepted… This is wrong. So we would like to use this video as a small token of support for that cause because marriage equality and indeed equal rights should exist for all citizens to be who they are and live their lives however they wish.”
Fresh, Edgy and Honest Songs Of Love and Loneliness with an Electro-Heartbeat.
Drenched in 1980s synths and electronics, Shura’s debut album Nothing’s Real is released on 8th July 2016 and I would say it is this years album of the year. Bold statement? I think not.
Shura brings us an album that has seen her likened to the early days of Madonna and Janet Jackson; but strip that away and take away the gloss of their ‘Hollywood lyrics’ and Shura is rightly standing on her own two feet. In recent years there has been a lot of musical styles with the tag of ‘electronic’ at the front – electro-indie, electro-pop, electro-folk – but Shura makes this tag her own. It’s fresh and on the edge more than her contemporaries as she mixes in sound bites from her childhood and sings of panic attacks to love lost and taking a chance on love
Although the title of the album (and lead song) is called Nothing’s Real there is definitely a realness in which Shura delivers her music and lyrics, like the with the fragility of ‘how can I not be everything that you need?’ in Kids N’ Stuff to, ‘ I’m no child but I don’t feel grown up,’ in ‘What Happened To Us?’ The beats and the electronics help us not to get too deep in our emotions and more so a release of them. We have the more poppy sounds in ‘ What’s It Gonna Be?’ and 90s soulful vibes in ‘Tongue Tied’ and ‘Make It Up.’ Shura really brings it all and although I have mentioned ‘old skool’ vibes this debut is fresh sounding for the current day. In fact a timeless debut has been presented to us.
Nothing’s Real proves that Shura is an artist in her own right. The roots of the album were born in her two bedroom flat n Shepherds Bush and the marketing around it is one of the best I have ever seen, with the site http://www.hasshurafinishedheralbumyet.com She also has the video that went viral for Touch and songs about aliens with lyrics that would not be out of place of everyday living. Shura is an artist so fresh and without boundaries and she’s “different, I like it,” to borrow the words from the song White Light. Just when you thought Nothing’s Real, reality has struck us and all my musical senses come alive with every beat and chord in every second I hear on this 50-minute album. So, yes, this is 2016’s album of the year.
In fairness it was Son #1 who was a Barenaked Ladies fan when he lived under our roof (the band NOT actual Bare Naked Ladies, but I suppose……) not me; although he played their Pirate Ship and Stunt album loud and on heavy rotation; so I became a fan by default.
Still touring with the same nucleus as when they first formed in 1988 and still recording left of centre ‘interesting’ Pop Music in the way only American bands can (I’m thinking Steely Dan and Cheap Trick among a myriad of others) this album is something of a warts n all Greatest Hits with the inclusion of a couple of newer songs thrown in for good measure.
You hear the crowd go crazy as they welcome the band to the stage and turn a few knobs and whistles before going into a smooth as silk Get Back Up and the show is firmly ‘on the road.’
As expected the musicianship from Robertson, Hearn, Creegan and Stewart is extraordinarily good and the whip-smart lyrics are even better than I’d remembered.
While not aux fait with every song here; I absolutely loved the tongue in cheek Brian Wilson; which made me think I should have added the Beach Boys to that original list of Great American Pop Bands; as they are with hindsight an obvious influence.
While there aren’t any long stories between songs; there is just enough ‘banter’ to keep your interest and even make you smile, especially between Falling For the First Time and the rather excellent Passcode.
There are even a couple of songs here that have really piqued my interest and if I can find the time, because of the beautiful piano on Light Up My Room will re-investigate it and also Falling For The First Time.
But what the Barenaked Ladies (appear to) do best are those quirky fun; yet still intelligent songs like the sing-along Gonna Walk, Duct Tape Heart (trust me it’s a cracker!) and of course their signature tune….If I Had £1,000,000 which has the crowd matching them with harmonies.
That said; my favourite song here really does sum them up and probably earned them more money than everything else and its the theme tune to Big Bang Theory which I seemed to know every single word.
But just when you think you can’t love them any more they close the show with……. Led Zeppelin’s…..Rock & Roll!!!!