May 3, 1999
Ipswich Corn Exchange
[B]Shed 7[/B] suck...
For so many people to hate them, we reasoned, Shed 7 must be doing something right. We were, frankly, previously unfamiliar with the unique 'magic' woven by Rick Witter and friends that has helped the band enjoy over half a decade as the eternal second feature of UK indie, carving out a respectable living as their fans' third or sixth favourite band. We came, we stress, without any preconceived notion as to the evening's entertainment.
So let us state, unequivocally, for the record... Shed 7 suck dust.
Shed 7 suck, like Wimpey Homes suck, like Wimpy meals suck, like wimpy, ambitionless, easily-sated indie pop sucks. They blow, like a constant diet of gruel and gravy would blow, like a life in sepia would blow, like a torrid night with William Hague would blow. Shed 7: they suck, they blow. But, most importantly, they do not (repeat) DO NOT ROCK.
They look terrible too. From their clip-art indie-rock wardrobe (T-shirts! Jeans! Sports-casual trainers! Can you taste the glamour, bay-bee?) to their prickly-heat posturings and woefully unjustified swagger (more insolent than arrogant), it's all wrong. And, with lank, lifeless bangs rippling over his ears and his mouth gaping open, Witter's the spit of nothing more than a devoted red setter, goofy and drooling disturbingly.
The music is cursed by the pitifully low ceiling of expectation Shed 7 seem to have set themselves, a graceless, sulky sludge dredging up the most uncool elements of your creepy uncle's record collection (the mordant Pink Floyd, the Direst of Straits) and topping them off with Witter's foghorn wail, wearing its beigeness like a flag. There are worse bands than Shed 7, perhaps, but few so grinningly, complacently pleased with themselves about it.
So where the fuck did 'Going For Gold' come from? With its poetic yearning, with its eminently affecting chorus chord-change, with its chokingly pretty jangle, with its widescreen sweep and Technicolor heart? Hard to believe it's the work of the same species, let alone band, as Shed 7.
It's a blip, make no mistake. As they lurch along with their modest success and even more modest dreams, rest easy in the bittersweet knowledge that Shed 7 have already over-achieved on their low-maintenance dreams.
To read all our reviews first - days before they appear online - check out NME magazine, on sale every Wednesday