ALBUM REVIEW: Hey Sholay “((O))”

‘Buzz Band’ is a title that can kill a band before they have even had time to shine. While a group needs to garner attention as they are on the rise, to be suddenly awash with praise can be more than a little bit detrimental. A ‘buzz band’ often explodes, basks in the immediacy of success and glory, then fails to live up to the praise. Sheffield ‘buzz band’ Hey Sholay have done far from that. While they have clearly won over the music press, both at home and overseas, they have far from rush released a product to appease fans. Instead, the five piece have focused their energies on crafting a brief, but fully captivating and most mesmerizing debut album, “((O))”.

Clocking in at just over half an hour, and boasting only nine tracks, “((O))” is a short, sharp, well executed introduction as to what is to come.  Though there will be obvious comparisons to an array of other leading Sheffield acts, notably the jaunty indie pop of Alex Turner and his pals, Hey Sholay have produced a sound that has their signature all over it.

Lead singer Jono is a dynamic presence. His raw, rich vocal sends shivers down the spine. He delivers each line with an emotional punch, yet never overblows his point. With echoes of JJ72’s overwrought Mark Greaney and Starsailor’s commanding James Walsh, Jono is compulsive listening. Surrounded by a cacophony of sound, he takes you on a sweeping, moving journey that allows you lose your inner self along the way to the hypnotic beats and melodies.

Hey Sholay are a band who defy categorisation. Though they are a commercially entertaining proposal, with a radio friendly sound, they are far from pointed solely in that direction. At the core is clearly a love of electro, while the classical also rears its head with tender piano recitals. While “Burning” and “The Bears, The Clocks and The Bees” are easily the strongest contenders for the top of the pop charts, it is the dizzy “Dreamboat” that really gets you going.
‘((O))’ is a stunning debut, but it is also far too brief. While it wows and woos with every turn, you can’t help but want more as it comes to an early close.
Hey Sholay are so much more than a ‘buzz band’. They are a stunning, engaging sensory treat.
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Jeremy Williams

ALBUM REVIEW: Chris Selman “All Or Nothing”

Manchester based singer/songwriter Chris Selman first came to the attention of The Kaje at the end of 2011 when we accidentally stumbled across his ridiculously luscious single “The Smile Upon You Face”. With a vocal performance that reminded us of JJ72’s Mark Greaney, his heartfelt delivery  instantly captured both our hearts and imagination as we fell head over heels in love with the tender ballad. The discovery set us upon a quest to find out more about the mysterious muso, which has culminated in our discovery of the equally impressive album “All Or Nothing”.

Selman could not have summoned a more suitable title for his foray into the world of the relationship. Earlier this week we sang the praises of songstress Soap&Skin, whose honest outpouring was reminiscent of Adele’s open approach to songwriting. Selman hails from a similar school of thought. His journey through love details everything from long distance frustrations to game playing, but all facets are treated with an equal open mind and honest outpouring.

“All Or Nothing” is very much an album of two uneven halves. Opening with the upbeat “Track And Field”, Selman is capable of the playful sing along, but before long he descends into beautiful ballad terrain. While this may normally provoke a complaint, Selman’s dexterous compositions and distinct vocal ensure that “In Exile, Together” and “The Smile Upon Your Face” steal the show as the album draws to a close.

With more than a handful of radio friendly fodder, Selman is an artist who warrants more attention than he has to date garnered. A skillful songwriter and charismatic storyteller, he has carefully crafted a gem.

Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Jeremy Williams

VIDEO: Chris Selman ‘The Smile Upon Your Face’

If you were to look at the title alone, you could be forgiven for writing off ‘The Smile Upon Your Face’ as just another sappy ballad being released in time for the Christmas rush. However, in doing so you would miss out on hearing one of Selman’s tender epic. Boasting a vocal reminiscent of JJ72’s Mark Greaney, every syllable resonates emotion yet never feels overblown. ‘The Smile Upon Your Face’ may well be a gushing love song on the one level, yet it manages to be so much more at the same time.

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