Hey Sholay - ((O)) (Fierce Panda)

For those fleeting few weeks and assorted days that sometimes get referred to as summertime, soundtracks of exuberant gleaming pop always fit seamlessly into the sunshine and swelter. Judging by this, the debut album by Sheffield band Hey Sholay, they just might have made it in time to fill the last days of summer with 9 songs of gorgeous, melodic pop.

Released Sep 16th, 2012 via Fierce Panda / By Lewie Peckham
Hey Sholay - ((O)) (Fierce Panda) Opening track ‘Wishbone (Wish Wish Wish)’ is the first of many highlights. Building on a shimmering guitar line that would make Los Campesinos! blush, frontman Liam Creamer’s soaring vocals bring to mind Passion Pit’s Michael Angelakos. Capable of a hushed, confessional whisper to a goosebump-inducing wail it’s a vocal performance that matches all of the buoyancy of the songs contained in this album.

Scattered throughout ((O)) are more potential chart botherers in the form of the kaleidoscopic ‘My Blood’ and the swooning ‘Go Easy Tiger’. The former is a melodic stomper drenched in soul while the latter contains the same expansive wonder that made The Flaming Lips more commercial moments such a treasure.

There are certain songs on ((O)) that wander aimlessly and fall into a trap of filler, relying on the formula that makes Hey Sholay’s music work but lacking the spark that makes it special. ‘Shut the Devil at the Backdoor / A Day in the Country, Berlin’ is a cumbersome plod that unfortunately comes straight after that opening salvo of stunning songs. It’s a failed attempt at epic experimentation that turns into a forgettable final few minutes.

The album closer ‘Golden is the Colour of the Sun’ is a dragged out exercise in drudgery that sadly stops the album ending on what should have been a glorious high.

Minor complaints aside ((O)) is a glorious pop record, full of heart and bursting with celebratory vigour. In an age where the ‘P’ word can be an albatross around any bands neck Hey Sholay pry it out of the hands of vacuous, faceless boybands and talent show winners and turn it into a positive and exhilarating 45 minutes.