Review: SHEAFS’ Debut EP ‘Vox Pop’ Speaks to, and For the Younger Generations

Vox Pop - SHEAFS
With scorching music and bombastic lyrics, Sheffield band SHEAFS’ debut EP ‘Vox Pop’ tackles our consumerist culture, self obsessed society, and the constant fight to not succumb to it all.
Stream: “Care Less” – SHEAFS




As mainstream music continues to hold a mirror to yesterday, taking holograms of past rock stars on tour rather than creating new ones, it feels like we’re living to the soundtrack of another time—specifically, the songs of the boomer generation. But slowly, a tide begins to change and the mirror fogs: Millenials and Gen Z hear their stories and worries in Billie Eilish, as her grammy domination supports. The cult-like adoration of English punk outfit IDLES shows we’re looking for music that hears us—and replies.

Consisting of Lawrence Feenstra (vocals), Chris Goodacre (guitar + backing vox), Charles Mellor (guitar), Callum Wright (bass + backing vox), and Charlie Eastap (drums), Sheffield, England’s SHEAFS debut EP, Vox Pop (out March via Blood Records),is the next album in this trend. Focusing on internal and external issues—particularly the interplay and impact of the two—SHEAFS have created a validating, head banging experience for the younger generations.

We sorely needed it.

Vox Pop - SHEAFS

Vox Pop – SHEAFS

A thrashing, bombastic offering that merges the themes of Wives’ So Removed with the scorching roar of Fontaines DC’s Dogrel, Vox Pop tackles our consumerist culture, self obsessed society, and the constant fight to not succumb to it all. What The Strokes’ Is This it? did for its generation of post-90s, disappointed drifters, SHEAFS are doing for the fraught twenty-somethings of today.

Take “Total Vanity” for example: With restaurants judged on their Instagrammability and your face mask being more about the selfie than the results it promises, it’s hard to wander around your own living room without feeling judged.

Moving pictures is just moving pictures
I feel like they speak to me
Like facial features in a magazine
It’s affecting my whole self-esteem
Oh I need to let go
Of the things I hold close
It’s total vanity



While recognition of this phenomena isn’t entirely new, SHEAFS do it in a way that normalizes the feeling, validating the listener. It also helps that it’s incredibly catchy. The endearing yet biting spoken delivery is reminiscent of The Clash, while the soaring guitars and pounding drums captures the fire found in the belly of most Gen Z-ers living in their parents spare room drowning in student loan debt.

Another track striking right at the heart of this anxiety-ridden century, “Care Less” closes the EP with a manifesto on how to live a happier life. With the same energy and passion that makes this EP anthemic, SHEAFS look at themselves and in the process talk to us all.

The bottom line of the problem
is that I care too much about what you think,
And I’m paranoid about your opinion
and the terrifying thought of not fitting in okay

If I hold myself in a certain way,
will it place me higher on the social scale?

I’m damned if I do, damned if I don’t
You’ve got to care less,
About what they say,
You’ve got to care less less less



SHEAFS

SHEAFS

Perhaps the most relatable moment however comes during the albums opener, “Thinking Out Loud,” a stream of consciousness song which juxtaposes the problems of the world with the small daily tasks that take up all our time. For such a time-strapped generation—who carry such a global problem load — “Thinking Out Loud” feels all too familiar.

We’re getting close to
eight billion people

And even now we can’t
seem to get it right

Oh how I wonder
if my laundry has dried

This validating anger permeates the whole EP, feeling like SHEAFS are making the trail IDLES blazed into a two-road super highway. After all, every revolution needs an anthem but what do you play after the protest?

Experience the full record on Friday, and peek inside SHEAFS’ Vox Pop with Atwood Magazine as the band go track-by-track through the music and lyrics of their debut EP!

Listen: “Thinking Out Loud” – SHEAFS
SHEAFS © 2020

SHEAFS © 2020



:: Inside Vox Pop ::

Vox Pop - SHEAFS

— —

Thinking Out Loud

The idea was to capture the array of disorganised thoughts that often fill our heads throughout the day. The contrast of associating laundry and bigger world issues was one that we found interesting.

The World Is Falling Apart

This song aimed to hold ‘bigger’ issues to light, trying to capture the greed of our learnt, self-centred tendencies, resulting in the obvious title.

Total Vanity

Total Vanity came out of much self-reflection; both as people and as a band. It’s about the frustration of being consumed by image and the social pressures so readily suggested to us by the various means of media culture.

Shopping

Consumerism at its finest. Something that we felt is so prevalent in today. This came from the idea of being in constant pursuit of chasing something you don’t have, and seeking solution through retail therapy.

Care Less

Care Less epitomises all that has preceded, our cold shoulder to social expectations and the idea of ‘fitting in’. It seemed only right for us to end the EP on this track with the fine message of caring less about opposing opinion(s).



:: SHEAFS TOUR DATES ::

* supporting The Slow Readers Club
Wednesday March 4th – London, Grace
Friday March 6th – Manchester, Gulliver’s
Saturday March 7th – Nottingham, Bodega
Thursday March 12th – Sheffield, Cafe Totem
Friday March 13th – Sheffield, Cafe Totem
Friday March 27th – Liverpool, O2 Academy*
Saturday March 28th – Birmingham, O2 Academy 2*
Saturday April 4th – Nottingham, Rock City*
Monday April 6th – Cambridge, Junction*
Tuesday April 7th – Sheffield, Foundry*
Saturday August 1st – Sheffield, Tramlines Festival
tix & more info @ sheafs.co.uk

— — — —

Vox Pop - SHEAFS

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📸 © 2020



:: Stream SHEAFS ::


Oliver Crook

Oliver Crook is a Canada-based journalist who has been playing guitar and deciphering lyrics since he first heard Sum 41’s “Fat Lip” blasting through his older brother’s bedroom walls. Although his taste has (somewhat) developed since then, his passion is just as strong as ever. When not writing about music, he can be found drinking too much coffee, complaining about the finickiness of avocados, and being disappointed by all of his favourite sports teams.