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EP REVIEW: Shooting Stansfield, We Know Not What We Do

shootingstansfieldepTITLE: We Know Not What We Do
BAND: Shooting Stansfield
LABEL: Unsigned
RELEASED: June 7th 2013

Indie bands are simply everywhere at the moment thanks to their current surge of popularity and as a result, I am constantly hearing of unsigned bands trying to hone their own niche in a genre that is over-saturated with music that frankly all sounds the same. Although I may say it a lot on this blog, this is a band that has a definite something extra. Meet Shooting Stansfield, an Edinburgh quartet with rave reviews of their brand new EP, We Know Not What We Do.

Praise comes from Scottish music blogs Favourite Son, who said of their previous EP Endeavour: “littered with tracks that stick in your head” and Peenko: “Fans of Frightened Rabbit would be urged to check out this up and coming act”. Having been compared to obscure indie acts such as Bright Eyes and The National, Shooting Stansfield are now branching out with their new release.

It begins with Blue Turns Black, which is melodic indie with summer riffs and the classic festival, folksy feel. So far, you may think I’m describing simply another dull, indie record but the thick Scottish lilt in the vocals is unmistakeable. This is a continuing motif and it really causes them to stand out from the usual fake-accented indie that we’ve unfortunately become so used to. A catchy “we know not what we do” hook really hammers home the name and message of the EP right from the get-go.

shootingstansfieldChanging into Greater Or Lesser, the guitar begins by slowly whining its way through the intro. It has a kind of campfire, story-teller vibe to it which I love. The drums arrive and it picks up a little, merging layers together as it retains the casual rhythm. Ultimately, it’s the perfect lazy summer track and its catchy hook carries on through till the end. It drifts into Sign Of The Times, which is another slow acoustic number. Again, the Scottish accent is there and it really is so refreshing to here something so raw and real from an indie band. Sign Of The Times is a soothing, relaxing tune despite it being a little monotone. It is however, a beautiful love story.

Perhaps the stand-out track on the EP for me is Satellites. I love the spacey feel to the backing music as the strums seem to resonate and go on forever. The floaty indie rhythm oozes slowly out and you’re left with a laid-back, slightly haunting sensation. Backing harmonies only add to the ethereal, gently lulling you into chill-out mode. The feeling of uncertainty that is clearly depicted in the lyrics suggests hanging between things like a satellite and simply not knowing what to do. Trying to stay relaxed while making a difficult choice is perhaps what the band are trying to convey through the contrast of emotions created.

There Are No Greater Truths has simple guitar strums, a slowely introduced drum layer and a focus on the dreamy vocals. The folksy theme is back again and it simply strolls through a flat track with no rise and fall at all. It’s not one of the EP’s stronger songs and I feel it could have done with more power in the closing instrumental, whereas instead the drums just peter out. It becomes the final, short burst that is State Of Mind, which sees the guitars really take centre-stage as the vocals simply whisper behind the ringing sirens that are produced from the strings -certainly a pretty effective way to end a show.

All in all, I feel that the EP could have had a little more energy at times but I do appreciate it for what it is -a kick-back-and-chill-out record. I love that Shooting Stansfield have well and truly stuck to who they are and it’s great to hear indie vocals that are distinctive with no frills or pretence. Hats off, guys!

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