On Friday, March 13th British country music duo The Shires release their fourth studio album ‘Good Years’ their first via new label group BMG since parting ways with Decca. The record promises to be a major career highlight for the pair who look to grow musically year-on-year.
Here we review the LP track-by-track.
The record opens with this feel-good anthemic, stadium filler that has all the makings of becoming a huge festival favourite. With its pop undertones, catchy lyrics, and sing-a-long chorus this is a fantastic way to open the new project and sets the tone perfectly for what The Shires are creating in this new era. Get ready to belt this one out when they perform it live on tour.
On The Day I Die
Despite its somber title and theme, this one is actually really feel-good; asking to celebrate a life filled with love and laughter rather than crying over the ending. It is, of course, thought-provoking thanks to its bittersweet lyrics weaved throughout but with its thumping chorus, this delivers a message to enjoy all the little things. Crissie Rhodes also delivers a crisp vocal that elevates the track to exciting heights.
At number 3 is the title track, a more stripped back affair the song allows for Ben Earle to showcase his vocals whilst partaking in a soaring harmony with Crissie meaning the sweet lyrical story becomes even more poignant. Lyrically focusing on how fast time flies this once again asks the listener to appreciate all the small things in their life before time goes by. Lady Antebellum esque the song is sure to become a huge fan favourite.
Once again The Shires deliver an acoustic vibed ballad that shines a light on their divine harmonies – combined with a luscious melody this showcases the sonic sound the duo are best at creating. They are definitely at their best when they let their voices take centre stage; lyrically the track is all about how couples fight but in the end, it all works out as there are no lies.
About Last Night
This track has been a fan favourite for several weeks now and it slots into the LP’s tracklist perfectly bridging the gap between country ballads and pop-infused arena-ready anthems. Crissie takes the lead and her vocals are sweet and pure as she belts out the toe-tapping chorus accompanied softly by Ben’s background vocals before he allows his own voice to shine solo.
At number 6 is the albums lead single which was dropped at the start of 2020 and is aptly named ‘New Year’ – this one takes The Shires back to their ‘Brave’ sound as they return to their roots of stripped back country ballads and somber heartbreak stories. Beautiful and captivating this one is a true marker of the Brit’s standout talents when it comes to creating soaring break-up songs that tug at the heartstrings whilst still managing to weave hope throughout.
Crissie opens with a sweet-toned, pared-back solo vocal before being joined by the lilting voice of Ben as they sing about the longing of lost love that somehow got away; a delicate offering that drives the record into new avenues as they allow the production to shine and give the chance for their harmonies to melt into each other. A truly beautiful addition to ‘Good Years’.
Anthemic and inspiring this has been a huge fan favourite for some time and there’s little surprise as to why; lyrically it’s a powerful track all about tapping into your own inner strength as you move on from a break-up. A heartbreak can be turned into power if you allow it and this song is all about not letting anything hold you back as you become an independent person not reliant on anyone.
Thank You Whiskey
At number 8 is this American sonic sounding country track that allows Ben Earle to take the vocal lead as he delivers a gorgeous vocal that wouldn’t sound out of place across US radio – this isn’t the typical style from a British country band but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work; it’s definitely a great addition to the album and drives the sound into new avenues.
People Like Us
Guitar led this luscious offering brings the sound back to the roots vibe and is very much folk-tinged as The Shires experiment with new styles unafraid of losing “their sound” – they are now comfortable enough to take risks in their songwriting and production styles and it certainly pays off. This is a true grower and one that will become a huge favourite in no time at all.
You’ve got to love a good piano introduction and this one delivers a truly mesmerizing one as The Shires continue on the ballad trail that is perfectly weaved throughout the impressive tracklist – once again they experiment expertly with new vocal styles whilst never straying from what makes them a remarkable duo. This one is truly beautiful and will go down a storm when performed live.
Luscious and stripped back this poignant track will evoke strong feelings of appreciating memories long gone as you look to create more – lyrically it’s strong and delivers a message of enjoying what you have now. It’s a sweet way to close out the record as it kind of feels like a chapter ending song. Gorgeous and inspirational this one will move your heart.
Overall the ‘Good Years’ album is a 12 track package of country goodness that allows The Shires to experiment with new sonic styles whilst also returning to their roots; they never stray too far of what makes them, them but also never stands still as they incorporate new sounds throughout; a truly standout LP.