Two years ago the Bolton upon Dearne quartet charted impressively with their debut LP Live for the Moment, entering the top ten. Before they were signed, The Sherlocks became the first unsigned act since the Arctic Monkeys to sell out the Sheffield Leadmill venue. The Sherlocks then went on to support the Courteeners, The Kooks, Kaiser Chiefs, and The Libertines. As the history of the world of music has shown, brothers working together often produces tension, well there is the potential for double the tension with The Sherlocks, as the band consists of two sets of brothers: The houses of Crook (Kiaran and Brandon) and Davidson (Andy and Josh). Nonetheless, they were able to agree on an impressive band name using the phrase “No shit Sherlock” as a reference point.
With Under Your Sky being produced by James Skelly (The Coral), the impressive chart position of their debut and the string of renowned bands The Sherlocks have supported; there are high expectations for this follow-up LP. Opening with “I Want it All”, we see The Sherlocks as a very humble band longing for Wales (even though they are from Bolton upon Dearne) and they celebrate the rain too. There is also a lovely message of love too. “I Want it all” works well as pleasant cacophonous background music, however, on some occasions, it has tendencies of an over-commercialized MOR track. The theme of love continues with “NYC (Sing It Loud)” it has a positive message and brings to the surface something many people keep hidden and want: to explore the world with another person. Sadly, “NYC (Sing It Loud)” fails to reach perfection for the same reasons album opener “I Want it all” didn’t.
“Waiting” is definitely edgier and less clean-cut than the two opening tracks. The guitar chords are more profound. Whilst it is self-evident that The Sherlocks did not embark on making a threatening record; “Waiting” nonetheless comes across as too non-threatening. There is more grit but more grit is needed. The added grit finally materializes on “Magic Man”. The bass is heavy, the guitars are more, yet appropriately aggressive. Once can truly take The Sherlocks seriously and with lyrics which refer to the many aspects of being human; the two synchronize well together. Reducing the focus on and lessening the collective consciousness of fine-tuning this track made “Magic Man” more impressive.
The music changes direction again on “Dreams”. One immediately hears uncanny resemblances to DMA’s songs “Warsaw”, “Lazy Love” and “Dawning”. “Time to Go” opens with an impressive introduction of eclectic distortions of keys. Regretfully these keys don’t develop into a wayward adventure. On “Give It All Up”, the introduction is the issue where The Sherlocks appear to sound like a boy band singing a love song. Fortunately “Give It All Up” develops into a soft rock song instead.
“One Day” opens up with a mass of energy and fighting spirit of opening guitars amidst a post-punk feel sound White Lies have often perfected. However, the upwards progress halts and the build-up of energy slows as the chorus kicks in. Likewise, “Now And Then” opens with an abundance of hopeful rawness which eventually evaporates into a MOR song. The penultimate track, “Step Inside”, like “Dreams”, borrows from the DMA’s songwriting book. The concluding song, “Under Your Sky” does something the DMA’s did on their playout track “Emily Whyte” on their second LP For Now; make an attempt of creating a heavily inspired Oasis track.
Owing to James Skelly, the sound engineering is superb. Under Your Sky is a static-free zone. Whilst lyrically we see a celebration of being human, the beauty of places and a celebration of all-weather, not just the sunshine; one feels that The Sherlocks has shown far too few of their true colours. There are attempts at them doing so but they appear to quickly retreat before any true revelations can be experienced by listeners. As a result, Under Your Sky is an LP that will be heard and absorbed by many; but a spiritual and elating connection will be experienced by far fewer listeners.