Stealing Sheep: Into The Diamond Sun - first listen
GIT Award nominees Stealing Sheep drop hotly-anticipated debut - Getintothis gives you the lowdown on Into The Diamond Sun out on Heavenly Records on September 3.
Getintothis has always been a fan of Stealing Sheep but we've written several times about their latent potential - and the promise of what's to come.
Wait no more. Rebecca Hawley, Emily Lansley and Lucy Mercer have delivered on a truly grand scale on their debut album proper, Into The Diamond Sun, out via Heavenly Records on September 3.
They followed this with a superlative showing at the first GIT Award at Leaf in April - a show which reaffirmed many fan's belief and brought them to the attention of several more.
Into The Diamond Sun will win many, many more fans.
Intrinsically embedded in the Merseyside scene, Stealing Sheep have worked closely with Kazimier dude and Dogshow synth wiz, Sam Crombie, who's efforts behind the Mello Mello space-dungeon mixing desk is first-rate, sprinkling all eleven tracks with delicate layers of frosted textures, medieval horns and exotic decadence.
It really is a delight. Here's a peak inside Into The Diamond Sun...
Stealing Sheep: Into the Diamond Sun
1. The Garden: What begins as a slow, Led Zep III style groove swells into Eastern groove with Emily's guitar's taking centre stage - something which is thankfully prevalent elsewhere on the record.
2. Shut Eye: That super-catchy first single showcases Rebecca's cheeky lead vocal combining with their characteristic tribal tub-thumping and deft vocal harmonies. One of many standouts.
3. Rearrange: A slow-burning, glock-attack reminiscent of Those Dancing Days with fizzing keys and some cracking multi-layered vocals which pop underneath the mix as Emily wraps those knuckles round some feisty nylon strings.
4. White Lies: One of the darkest lyrically on Into The Diamond Sun - calling out a cheating lover, possibly? Or maybe just a dodgy geezer down Lark Lane. Either way Lucy's rat-ta-tat-tat-ting on the marching drums and the added menacing spidery guitar lines and snaking keys add a distinctly moody edge to this little corker.
5. Genevieve: Classic Emily riffing all over the shop on another big highlight. Eastern mysticism collides with hand-clapping pop magic with Rebecca's vocal slicing through the mix like a diamond cutter. The solo which erupts out of nowhere is one for the Liverpool psych heads everywhere. Belter, and surely a future single.
6. Circles: A brooding groove you'd imagine the girls concocted while mashed in the studio. Or perhaps they were just high on cuppa soup. What begins as a heady blur unwinds into a clipperty-clop whirl - spellbindng.
7. Gold: The album's best track. If there was any doubt Stealing Sheep lacked winners this is one to wallop those suggestions out the field. A whacked out Arabic synth groove straight from a Cairo rug shop vies for attention amid multi-layered harmonies as Emily once again hammers an incessant riff before that distinctive far-East keys drone sucks you back in your cobra basket.
8. Shark Song: The straightest track on Into The Diamond Sun - subtle melodies, clean guitars and meandering vocals concerning 'friendly sharks' - like a sunny day down the Pier Head.
9. Liven Up: Perhaps the weakest track on first listen; similar to much of the girls' work, there's plenty of tom-tom action, handclaps and vocal splendour - but we knew all that already, right? Producer Sam's nifty little touches with pulsing keys and slightly haunted taut string action recall a night down the Kazimier.
10. Tangled Up In Stars: A jaunty mazing serenade with more ups and downs than a trip round the Great Wall of China. The weaving hysteria closes with some clamouring brass which sounds like the Kazimier Krunk Band may have dropped by for a jam.
11. Bear Tracks: A stunning change of pace to close. This was a highlight of their recent UK and European tour. Emily's vocal is pushed upfront in the mix, and it's something which should be considered more often next time round as it offers such depth and variety.
An almost balladic ode begins with delicate Rebecca keys riffs swirling in and out of the mix while Lucy adds a sombre emotive thud to treated guitar lines. A deeply melancholic tone transforms into a magical waltz before the three musicians combine to stunning effect.
Secret track: The as yet unnamed closer is a piano motif presumably composed by Rebecca which brings Into The Diamond Sun to a ghostly, if serene finish with just the whispers of all three catching their breath as the record ends.
In summary, a stunning piece of work showcasing a musical progression few could have predicted - and that's not to underestimate Stealing Sheep - more a reflection of Into The Diamond Sun's variety and sonic flair. A fine beginning.
Stealing Sheep: Into The Diamond Sun album teaser.
Stealing Sheep play Kazimier Summer Garden Party on Saturday July 14 and a Kazimier Christmas homecoming party on December 14.