Shields – How Can We Fix This? (Kaleidoscope)

Well, in fairness, this Newcastle five-piece has attained plus points from me already, because they’ve actually bothered to label their album with the proper punctuation, and ended with a question mark, unlike most of the illiterate buggers that release music these days. Or at least that’s how it seems to me anyway. Thankfully though, they don’t have to rely solely on my Grammar Nazi tendencies in order to merit a complimentary review.

In terms of the feelgood factor, think Belle & Sebastian’sThe Party Line‘, think of ‘Wake Up Boo‘ by The Boo Radleys, and think, furthermore, of the so-called (and vociferously rejected) tag of “New Rave” once bestowed on The Klaxons. What this should tell you, apropos of Shields‘ musical stylings, is that they have filled their sink full of all the most euphoric moments in life and mixed them all together to create a cocktail of the most joyous celebration imaginable. You don’t want to dance? You know where the exit is. I haven’t heard anything that has made me want to hug people this much in a long, long time. I don’t make a habit of accruing enemies, but ‘How Can We Fix This?‘ has such soul cleansing, hatchet burying qualities that I would happily go toe to toe with whatever foes I HAD unwittingly garnered, grooving at the nearest fleapit discotheque. Hell, with anthems like these, we’d probably end up best buddies too.

Technicolour‘ comes at you, frantically, eager to please, signalling the band’s intent from the outset. It’s all gloriously infectious, and this is a positive trait that permeates throughout. It’s most noticeable on the splendid former single ‘Mezzanine‘, which, should it not make you want to gurn your toothiest grin whilst bouncing dementedly off the walls of the nightclub (or, for the more introverted amongst you, the bedroom), ought to make you question whether you really actually have any place in this world. If you don’t like this, then frankly, I don’t think we can ever be friends.

In all seriousness though, there probably won’t be another album released this year that is as easy to love as How Can We Fix This?. It bursts with energy, bristles with confidence and embeds even its subtlest melodies (the title track and ‘Drones‘) firmly in your cerebrum. Perhaps though, Shields are at their best when belting out their broadest footstompers such as the irresistible curtain closer ‘I Don’t Know What You Want‘. I’d be willing to wager that there is NOBODY that this album couldn’t cheer up. Even Newcastle United fans.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.