REVIEW: Shellsuit and The Sums, The Black-E

Boss Mag
put on a double header of two enigmatically contrasting bands that really struck a chord with audiences on the current music scene. A sizable crowd enjoyed the show as did our reviewer Shaun McCoy, who went along to sample the bands and DJ Jonah’s old school floor-fillers.

The Sums are always a great band to go and see because they have a Liverpool legend within their ranks – the unstoppable Digsy Deary. But it’s not all just about him and his incredible voice. The whole band is strong in all areas as they delivered another powerful performance of psychedelic, alternative, rock and roll.

Digsy has a great vocal rapport with co-writer and bassist, Chris Mullin. The harmonies are big and strong while Lee Watson adds to this with scything guitar licks that are complimented by a fine back beat.

Digsy is a vocal acrobat as he hits sweet high notes on Scared of Missing Out and be snarlingly punk-like in Vegetable, with a vocal that cuts as deep as a packet of Gillette. I particularly liked some of their new songs with more finely crafted lyrics that are both endearing and harsh. The music fits them like a glove – razor-like riffs and a strong rhythm section. This is finely demonstrated in Maybe It’s You and I’ll Find Out.

They finished off with a Smaller classic, God I Hate This Town, a seethingly brilliant antithesis to Ferry Across The Mersey.

Shellsuit have the songs and the charisma that make them a highly entertaining band to see and hear. They are a band for our time, taking to the stage in painting and decorating overalls, featuring lyrics that document ordinary, everyday life in the current political and economic landscape.

All captured in their thought provoking lyrics, funky indie-rock music, offset by the presence of their larger than life theatrical frontman Ed. Which other frontman dons a high visibility coat, protective goggles and quotes from the health and safety guide?

Tracks such as Survivors of a Social Experiment and Walking Past Lidl, deal with the darker issues that are affecting many people because of government austerity measures. The former is filled with powerful lyrics depicting the unparalleled world we are living in – ‘the empty factory that became a wacky warehouse and ‘cemented in the Bullingdon Club.’ The latter is a richly thought up song, part of the narrative depicts a dying George Orwell attending a job centre restart.

Apart from the socio-political stuff there was also a party/anthemic side to their music in funk-laden tracks Bali, Thailand, Sydney and America and Death Or Bongo, songs showcasing their sharp indie riffs, funk strutting bass and commendable backing vocals. The band’s lyrical sources and the cool combination of music should have them (and the Sums) being heard on a national platform.

WORDS BY: Shaun McCoy


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