Hey Sholay – ((O)) LP
Hey Sholay have come a long way since spending the early days of last summer sending out demos wrapped in (fake) bear fur. Since then there have been NME Awards shows, airplay on both Radio 6 and Radio 1 and a plethora of plaudits for their colourful, off-kilter take on uplifting indie-pop. ‘((O))’ is the five-piece’s long-anticipated debut LP, which they somehow found the time to record inbetween decorating Cathedrals with balloons (Exposed In Session highlight below)…
Hey Sholay can clearly boast mastery of their instruments but, thankfully they never resort to the kind of self-congratulatory riff-indulgence associated with the likes of veteran prog-popsters Muse, for example. Rather, they impress through their subtlety. Each layer – each guitar sound, each synth bleep, each children’s toy channelled through a loop pedal (it wouldn’t surprise me) – adds its own texture to create something delicately complex and rather lovely.
This is especially evident in lead single ‘Burning’. Each layer contributes in its own understated way, but take the time to listen to it and you’ll discover a web of sound that's just a wee bit hypnotic. It’s a great demonstration of the band’s knack for taking something you may have heard before and transforming it in a way you could never have imagined.
‘The Bears, The Clocks, The Bees’ provides another example of this talent. Opening with a majestic church-bell like tilling, it's full of whirl and fizz – like you've stumbled across the floor music for a hallucinogenic sweet shop.
Amidst all the bells and whistles, the Sholay never forget their pop-hooks though, and while ‘Dreamboat’ sounds more laboured in its latest incarnation, another old favourite – and album opener – ‘Wishbone’ provides an early demonstration of the band’s penchant for the dramatic. Progressing from its rather genteel introduction, the screw is steadily turned as it increases in intensity, culminating in an impassioned cry of “don’t ever leave me now” at the end of the second verse. As introductions go, it’s mightily impressive.
Recent single ‘My Blood’ maintains the quality, starting in the realm of well-acquainted indie foot-tappers until the skyscrapering chorus arrives. This psychedelic trick is repeated on the triumphant ‘Shut the Devil at the Backdoor’. In the end the band do allow themselves one indulgence – album closer ‘Golden is the Colour of the Sun (Run Rabbit)’ being epic both in length and scale of ambition (it starts with freakin’ lazers).
‘((O))’ is the sound of the band clattering their way through the familiar, but demonstrating an ability to add their own, vibrant Sholay twist to proceedings. It’s pop, but pop gone wonky. And that’s just how it should be.
Words by Lewis Parker