There is something quite rewarding in knowing a group of guys for a few years and watching them grow from being a raw band of schoolkids to releasing their very own record.

That's the way of it with the boys from The Shanklins. And before you turn the page and say that I am biased, well, I probably am but I'm going to tell it like it is. So these chaps are born of an earlier incarnation that they started at school. The Shanklins are a four-piece, consisting of Ben J Phillips (lead vocals/guitar), Tom Phillips (lead guitar), Alex Jones (bass) and Mitch Dodd (drums).

The boys are multi-instrumentalists and are individualistic in their songwriting abilities, pushing them forward to create powerful, crowd-pleasing music. They hail from Cannock in Staffordshire and their influences are drawn from the likes of Kings of Leon, The Strokes, Oasis, plus an eclectic mix of music from across the generations - but this doesn't define their sound.

They have enthusiastically fused together an energetic, exciting, individualistic sound that makes their music difficult to categorise. Named after the town on The Isle Of Wight where Ben played an acoustic set as part of a Scooter Festival they have spent many months writing and recording to find their style. It's not been plain sailing.

With them starting their first band whilst they were all still at school, they had exams and other engagements to contend with, so they purposely held back until they were quietly confident that their material reflected their style and remained true to their roots. The studying finally paid off, as three quarters of the band now study music at either university or college and they have material prepared that is ready to record.

It seems a long time since I witnessed them recording a selection of their material with Spiritualized guitarist Tony Foster, and then gracing the stage at Deerstock, a festival in which Tony’s second band Doggens All Stars headlined. It also seems a long time we’ve waited for the first offering from this lauded bunch of lads.

Now they’ve released, via Loaded Music, the ‘See Through EP’: five self-penned indie delights for your listening pleasure. Produced by Ryan Pinson at RML, the lyrical content is credited to lead singer Ben and the music to the whole band.

‘Tell Me’, ‘On Hold’, ‘Five’, ‘Get Along’ and ‘Don't Talk’ are tracks that would grace any top indie bands' releases and I'm trying for the life of me to give you a likeness of the sound these chaps generate but I can't. It is that unique.

Best thing to do is get along to Soundcloud, or even better, buy the EP itself and give it a listen. Even better than that, get along to one of the venues they’re gigging on the coming tour. If the EP launch at Woody's Bar in Hednesford is anything to go by they will be hard gigs to get into.

The crowd, albeit largely local, grew as we were listening to the support acts until the place was near rammed. They are, for a young band, very confident and love the stage environment although young Ben does like to take detours and have a wander out in with the partygoers from time to time. He also has the gift of the gab!

Seriously, though, there are a few well-trained ears belonging to some very informed folk in the music business that have tipped the Cannock creators of carnage to go far. I for one have to agree. Remember the name: The Shanklins have arrived.


Photographs by Dave Goodwin
http://www.davegoodwinimages.com













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