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Stealing Sheep band on the rise - I Am The Rain set for release

by Richard Lewis. Published Thu 28 Apr 2011 12:44, last updated: 28/04/11
Stealing Sheep (photo Ash Williams/Purple Revolver)
Stealing Sheep (photo Ash Williams/Purple Revolver)

The star is rising for all-girl trio Stealing Sheep as one of the most tipped bands in Britain, they have an EP set for release and are about to take the festival circuit by storm.

Drawing from a wealth of nu-folk influences such as CocaRosie, Joanna Newsom and Feist, the band have moved in a new exciting psychedelic direction.

Sir Paul McCartney has declared himself a fan of the group and the feeling is reciprocated, as the ‘Sheep have recently absorbed influences from the Beatles along with Warpaint, PJ Harvey and Animal Collective.

Lined up onstage in a Velvet Underground formation with Lucy’s mounted tom-tom drums as the focal point of the trio, the ‘Sheep produce dizzying melodic, psychedelia-tinged folk.

Driven by Becky’s antique Yamaha keyboard and Emily’s idiosyncratic guitar lines, the three-piece create a sound that conjours up a scene of rural bliss, yet the sweet vocal melodies occasionally hint at something darker lurking beneath the surface.

Despite not sounding or looking remotely like one, Stealing Sheep seemingly share the same aesthetic as US underground rock bands of the early 1980s that spent the vast majority of their time touring, resulting in a considerable cult following.

The trio of beauties have played a staggering amount of gigs since their current line-up settled 12 months ago, honing their craft the old-fashioned way, on the road as opposed to the practice room.

“We’re going to tour with (Irish singer-songwriter) Richard O’Flynn” lead singer Becky said of their European tour plans.

“We’re booking Europe dates around the Fusion Festival in Germany, we’ll drive through France, go to Belgium, Germany, detour to Switzerland, back through France via Paris and then home. It’ll be a week and a bit around Europe.”

The only thing the band aren't looking forward to on their European tour is the prospect of “service station food" Becky said.

“Yeah, I think we spent most of our money on service station food last time” says Emily, grimacing at memories of Ginster’s pasties.

As the festival season approaches, the band have largely avoided 'corporate style festivals' as Becky describes them.

The itinerary of smaller scale events, Southport Rocks, The Great Escape and The Trip festival in North Wales amongst others, will win them thousands of new fans.

Amongst all of this activity is the band’s hugely anticipated Liverpool Sound City gig at St. Lukes (the Bombed Out Church).

Playing on the BBC Introducing Stage fronted by Radio Merseyside’s Dave Monks, Crosby’s favourite wayward sons Clinic are headlining, with the gig extremely likely to be one of the highlights of the festival.

Supporting stomping garage rockers Clinic acts as a marker for how far Stealing Sheep’s sound has travelled from the sweet nu-folk of their early releases.

The enchanting skewed pop of recent single tracks The Mountain Dogs and Your Saddest Song points the way forward to the group’s next venture, a daring leap into the unknown and a full scale immersion into psychedelia and 60s concept-pop.

The resonant tones of Emily’s inspired guitar work, equal parts Fela Kuti and Kevin Shields has played a major role in this development, one that will come to its fruition on the band’s debut album.

The band’s next single, I Am the Rain, due in mid-May continues the band’s practice of offering something different to the discerning music lover. Becky describes the release as “a double-sided A and B-side, with two tracks on either side of the vinyl.”

Two traditional singles on one disc effectively, the psychedelic wonderment of the title track is backed by the alluring twilight beauty of Noah’s Days.

The two songs were recorded at the legendary Abbey Rd Studios in a continuous overnight recording session from midnight til 8am. Captured on film by Jack Whitley who has collaborated on many of the group’s videos, the clip is on the band’s site, alongside their quirky innovative music videos which have been racking up scores of YouTube hits.

Putting a new spin on old material, one of the new EP tracks is a swirling compendium of band demos, expertly spliced together by long-time band producer Joe Wills.

Fittingly, Noah’s Days has undergone remixes by COLO, Cineplex and Becky herself, the re-fashioned structure of the track’s new versions proving how strong the original piece is.

With their debut album tentatively pencilled in for a winter release, the recording sessions will take place in September in a South of France villa owned by Charlie Chaplin’s grandson.

With tourmate Richard O’Flynn behind the recording console, the band’s sojourn to the South of France is reminiscent of The Rolling Stones’ sessions for the iconic Exile on Main St, committed to tape in Keith Richards’ villa. Similarly to the Stones, the LP will be recorded on a mobile studio, the band mindful of “keeping things quite DIY”, as Becky says, retaining the lo-fi magic that has made their records thus far so unique.

As the superlative likes of The Mountain Dogs, Shoot the Ducks to Win, Pass Through You and I Am the Rain have chronicled the band’s on-going transformation from “acoustic freak folk” as Becky describes it, to haunting, electrified psychedelia, the onward journey is bound to be just as thrilling, fascinating and off-beat as the trip so far.

I Am The Rain is released on May 16th with a launch party at London’s Camden Lock Tavern.

Stealing Sheep play Liverpool Sound City on Fri May 20st at St. Luke’s (Bombed Out Church) supporting Clinic.

stealingsheep.com

For wristband deals for Sound City May 19-21 visit www.liverpoolsoundcity.co.uk

http://www.ashwilliamsphotography.com/



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"Vote for Stealing Sheep on The People's Music Awards http://www.thepeoplesmusicawards.com/stealingsheep/" Rich, Liverpool around 10 years, 6 months ago