Today we’re delighted to feature only our fourth ‘In The Round’ review, where several members of the team write about one song from an album that they’ve really connected with. It takes a special album for us to come together and write a team album review, and this is the first time we’ve done so for an album from the UK. We give you our review of ‘Accidentally on Purpose’ from The Shires!
Echo – Liam Lewis (twitter.com/liam0324)
The shires have nailed the perfect country-pop sound that is not only glorious to the ears of the most die hard of country music fans, but also to the radio listening public. Coming off the back of a top 10 album in the UK, The shires continue to not disappoint with this new record. Echo, my favourite track from the record, is the perfect blend of country and pop that enhances the great lyrical and vocal talents of Chrissie and Ben. The upbeat track has a melodic magic that you cannot help but dance to. This magic is created by the harmonic blend of Chrissie and Ben’s vocals which have been perfectly executed and coupled with a country beat many could be forgiven for thinking is pop music. Echo is surely a track that will be on many playlists this summer.
River of Love – Laura Klonowski (lauraklonowski.com)
The Shires’ new album Accidentally On Purpose is without doubt their best body of work to date. It’s full of heartfelt ballads with moving lyrics and and uptempo pop infused numbers that will be amazing live.
One of my personal favourites on the new record is the poppy River Of Love it has a different vibe compared to others on the LP such as the sublime Stay The Night and Sleepwalk. River Of Love is an uptempo number that has a massive singalong chorus and a toe tapping beat. This combined with the oh, oh ohs make it a real standout and this will no doubt be a major highlight when performed live. It’s a fun song with a great message about learning to take the rough with the smooth and a reminder that love is the most important thing you can have in your life. River Of Love is not the usual sound you’d expect from The Shires but it just works and for me it’s one of the best songs on the whole LP.
Speechless – Megan Roberts (twitter.com/retrocatswift)
This is the kind of melodic love song that makes you fall in love all over again. The piano builds gradually with both Ben and Chrissy’s voices, showcasing both sets of vocal power as the song progresses. Ben partnered with singer/songwriter Lizzy McAvoy to craft the spellbinding lyrics for this track. “Let’s speak less // keep loving me speechless”. This tune really captures the magic of realising you’re in love with somebody, and knowing that it’s going to be forever. I can already hear this being played at many future weddings to come. In fact, I am left somewhat Speechless by this stunning song. It’s a gem that shines brightly on such a fantastic album.
Strangers – Lesley Hastings (twitter.com/lesleyhastings)
I have chosen to write about “ Strangers”, a power ballad which is apparently Chrissie’s favourite album track. I must say that it definitely highlights her strong vocals which are particularly impressive on this song and it’s a great vehicle for her to unleash her power and emotion.
Its classic verse, chorus, verse, chorus, middle eight, chorus structure sees Chrissie and Ben taking a verse each with Chrissie singing lead and Ben harmonising during the remainder of the song. It builds beautifully after a gentle start, the three soaring choruses being a fantastic contrast to the rest of the track. A strong drum beat kicks in after the first verse and there’s a cacophony of instruments ( both modern and trad country ) and effects in the mix.
The song’s premise is an established, loved up couple suggesting having what is essentially a date night, a first date in fact and pretending they know nothing about each other. They don’t want their relationship to become staid or take each other for granted, “ I don’t wanna get used to you” they sing in the break. They mention leaving their memories behind and wanting to re-discover what it was that made them fall for each other in the first place. I’m sure most of you agree that there’s nothing like that element of excitement ( as well as uncertainty and trepidation too ) when it comes to a new relationship and this is captured so well here. Lyrics like “ Kiss me like we’ve never kissed, and hold me like you’re scared to death, pretend that it’s the very first time” evoke the passion of early romance perfectly.
Ben and Chrissie both appear on the writing credits of this stunner, alongside Chris DeStefano and Emily Weisband who between them seem to have collaborated with every contemporary country artist on the planet including Carrie, Miranda, Carly Pearce and Lady A! I can’t wait to hear this one live for sure!
Accidentally On Purpose – Katie Louise Ingram (twitter.com/xkatie19x)
Accidentally on Purpose, the title track off the album, co-written by both Ben and Crissie and Jimmy Robbins is my favourite song off the album. The gorgeous ballad released a few weeks earlier than the album gave Ben and Crissie the opportunity to showcase their incredible writing talents together before the album was released to the world. Along with “Guilty”, they gave their fans a little taster of what they had to look forward to with the release of the long awaited third album and am sure anyone would agree it was definitely worth the wait! With their shared vocals blending beautifully on the track it tells the relatable story of how many feel when embarking on that new feel kind of relationship where you are crazy about the other person and make excuses when doing things out of love instead of just admitting you are doing them intentionally. On release day of the song Crissie actually told her fans the ballad is a true story about her love life!
The Hard Way – Emily J Weall (twitter.com/emilyj_weall)
What is it with artists opening albums these days with really strong songs? I can’t keep up with it! The Hard way is the perfect opener, as it sets the tone for an album which is a perfect mix of ballads and pop/country bangers. Written by Ben Earle, Holly Partridge and Jimmy Hogarth it perfectly captures emotions that surely everyone has had? A little bit of regret from not learning a lesson yet also a bit of pride for being stubborn, mixed in with some feel-good nostalgia. This one isn’t for the true-country die-hards, but it is for everyone who loves a great pop song.