The news of an impending debut album from Shermer is exciting and great for the local music scene. Shermer are one of a small handful of perfectly formed indie rock bands that have the undeniable knack of being able to cross over to a very broad base given the audience. They are followed by lovers of both indie and metal alike, often being picked up by promoters from both ends of the spectrum. Vocalist/Guitarist Tom Prendergast also plays drum with a death metal bands and guitar in an instrumental prog-metal act. The bands often plays acoustic sets.
Opening the debut is the now instantly recognisable This Was Great. It’s a good move and the perfect choice for a lead single (or video) too. It is everything I like about this band – instant, energetic and crammed full of great hooks. It seems every song here is an anthem and are going to sound amazing come the summer festival season. Live it Out is the same; starting off with tender vocals and ending with pounding bass and drums. Tired is much more subtle, choosing to slowly creep up on you with its slinky guitar solo until you succumb to the song’s wonderful dramatic and crashing ending.
Belief is possibly the strongest song here, starting with a clean guitar, going into a verse that chugs along like that first Fightstar EP and leading into a chorus that changes direction constantly and takes you by surprise at it’s every turn. Tom’s vocals might be a bit too low in the mix but when you can make him out, he actually sounds a little like Davey Havok from A.F.I. What you think is a mid-section is again a miss-direction, with a cacophony of down-tuned guitars, break-neck speed jams and suddenly you release it wasn’t the mid-section and the song has ended. It leaves you wanting more and remembering why My Vitriol were so damn good.
The second half of the album kicks off with the quiet of Days Like That and Wit’s End, but I Know halts that with a mix of clean guitar over a galloping drum sticks, followed by a soaring chorus and bridge that has a Bloc Party-like shuffle to it and catchy as hell. It’s instantly likable at every turn and easily another album highlight and real way to show-off that knack of penning a bloody clever tune. Here It Is is two minutes of perfect indie pop and a showcase for some beautiful soul-style guitar pluckery and album closer, What’s Important, has another whiff of early Fightstar to it, but that is certainly no bad thing, and it’s also another short one clocking in at just a minute and a half.
A bonus track called So Much for So Long is a beautiful number that starts off as almost a solo number but after a verse, the song thunders along all bass heavy yet manages to retain every ounce of soul. Whether you count it as a bonus track or the actual end of the album, it is another highlight; brilliant layered vocals and guitar that is reminiscent of John Frusciante.
It’s easy to keep on about the quality of the vocals and guitar here as Tom is such a formidable ‘front man’ but you cannot underestimate just how strong a rhythm section Tommy (bass) and Dave (drums) is. They under-pin every single track here with precision and ferocity.
The album takes me right back to 1997 and is very much of the era of 90s Brit Rock – Terrorvision, 3 Colours Red, Honeycrack, Wildhearts and most of all, early Feeder who were then the UK’s answer to The Smashing Pumpkins (before they took a nosedive and went way too mainstream). Here, vocalist Tom has that same husk to his voice as Grant Nichols and stunning musicianship throughout which even Feeder half-inched from The Pumpkins’ Gish. It’s a great big, brash guitar pop sounds that has long since been missed by these ears.
The as yet untitled debut album from Shermer is due out this spring.
Shermer also perform live at the following dates:
23rd March @ Vintage Rock Bar, Doncaster.
30th March @ RS Bar, Sheffield.
8th April @ The Hop, Sheffield.
22nd June @ Live In Barnsley Festival.