By TJ Ola, guest writer
Australian indie pop band Sheppard is a six-member line-up, made up of George Sheppard (piano and lead vocals), Amy Sheppard (Vocals), Michael Butler (lead guitarist), Jay Bovino (songwriter and rhythm guitarist), Emma Sheppard (bass and backing vocals) and Dean Gordon (drums). In 2009, Sheppard began as a duo of George and Amy Sheppard. Then in 2011, Jay Bovino (George’s friend from Sydney) joined. By 2012, their six-member line-up had formed and they established their own record label, Empire of Song.
In August 2012 Sheppard released a self-titled five-track EP. By September that year, they had performed at festivals in London, South Africa and United States. In July 2013, the EP peaked at No. 18 on the ARIA Singles Chart, and its lead track Let Me Down Easy was nominated for Best Independent Release at the ARIA Music Awards of 2013. In February 2014, Sheppard released the second single Geronimo, which is the lead track of their debut studio album, Bombs Away which was released in July 2014.
Bombs Away is an 11-track album that delivers magnificent and unforgettable songs that are delightful that ooze with emotions. The song Geronimo possesses extravagant vocals and catchy lyrics. Seriously, once you hear this song you cannot get it out of your head, and that’s a good thing because it’s absolutely amazing. The next couple of tracks, especially Something’s Missing, have astounding harmonies; there is definitely a great fusion from the lead male and female singers, George and Amy Sheppard. These People is a fantastic, motivating song about keep following your dream, even though you come across people who push you around and tell you that your dreams aren’t going to come true. The rest of the album has more of an indie pop vibe. If the songs were people, they would be cheerful, vibrant and happy.
A Grade Playa, Smile, The Best Is Yet To Come, This Electric Feeling, Find Someone and Lingering are all songs about different stages in a relationship and the perspectives from a man and woman. There is definitely a story when you combine these songs together, it is amazing that Sheppard did that because it’s much more interesting and this is why you should buy the whole album rather than pick out songs individually. The concluding track, Halfway to Hell, has a wild-western kind of vibe. There’s a dark theme, and once again catchy lyrics. This song is empowering and an extraordinary ending to a phenomenal album. Bombs Away earned Sheppard nominations for Album of the Year, Best Group, Best Independent Release, and Best Pop Release at the 2014 ARIA Music Awards.
Overall, Bombs Away exceeded my expectations and is an album that I’ll listen to on Spotify for a very long time. I think that each track on this album has the potential to be a smash hit. Toby Creswell from Rolling Stone Australia gave the album four stars and said “Sheppard…could go all the way.” This is only Sheppard’s debut album and it’s absolutely fantastic, I can’t wait on what they produce in the future. Listeners of indie-pop, Ed Sheeran, AJR, American Authors and MKTO will definitely like this album. 9/10.