A near-ubiquitous presence on the radio, ‘Top of the Pops’ and ‘TFI Friday’ in the mid to late nineties, Shed Seven have outlasted their more fêted contemporaries in impressive fashion. Building their profile through biennial ‘Shedcember’ Winter tours over the past decade, the group have become a huge live draw.

A combination of Smiths and Sundays guitar jangle with a smidgen of the Stones’ swagger, topped with Rick Witter’s stentorian vocals. Their 1994-99 run of singles featured here showcases the period when they were seemingly glued onto the Top 40. Kept at arm’s length by the music press who instead preferred to award front covers to the remembered only by Google likes of Gene, S*M*A*S*H, and These Animal Men, the York outfit’s material has aged well.

Originally released in 1999 and pepped up here with additional studio sessions and live tracks, the set marks the point where the Sheds’ commercial fortunes along with the rest of the Britpop pack severely declined.

While their most famous songs, ‘Going for Gold’ and ‘Chasing Rainbows’ underline their knack at anthemic balladry, the spikier cuts here ‘Speakeasy’, ‘Dolphin’ and the Smiths-ian stampede of ‘Mark’ stand out as their strongest moments. Led by Witter’s best bellowing sung/spoken Shaun Ryder impersonation ‘She Left Me On Friday’ is a successful attempt at a lopsided Happy Mondays groove.

‘Ocean Pie’, despite the group’s denials to the contrary tackled the (then) taboo subject of heroin (the cover photo was of a bloke passed out over a sink), while the wall of sound guitars of ‘Getting Better’ and the vicious swirl of ‘Where Have You Been Tonight?’ retain their energy.

With the demand for this collection on vinyl and their first album in over fifteen years, ‘Instant Pleasures’ cracking the Top 10 in 2017, these self-deprecating Britpop survivors surely won’t be retiring any time soon.

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