In their third album, the first in two years, English country-folk band The Shires have produced their strongest work yet with music that is catchy, fun, emotive and anthemic. That being said, it must be asked whether the Shires are playing it safe.[pullquote]The Shires may have missed an opportunity to find a home for a more distinct country sound in British music. [/pullquote]
The album opens with with the injection of life the the UK country music scene needs. ‘The Hard Way’ and ‘Echo’ combine a faster paced pop-country style, made mainstream in recent years by artists like Sam Hunt, with the traditional folk sound fans of the duo have become accustomed to. The songs are powerful, have real meaning and will translate brilliantly to a live stage.
It is ‘Stay The Night’ that shows off the duos talents to the best. The anthemic chorus exposes the difference in the two singers’ voices, while also showing how well they are able to compliment each other. Like ‘Speechless’, further on in the album, the lyrics are those of a ballad and the catchy nature of that, and almost every single song on the album is quite the feat.
The difficulty comes when you evaluate the range of music and the genre it is trying to be, with no real intense country songs it could risk fading into a crowded market of fast-paced guitar-based folk. The song ‘River of Love’ is as close as you get to a proper Nashville country song and that sound isn’t repeated elsewhere on the album, and it is weaker as a result.While Accidentally On Purpose works as brilliant British record, The Shires may have missed an opportunity to find a home for a more distinct country sound in British music.