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The Sherlocks speak ahead of album release and Birmingham shows

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Indie rockers The Sherlocks are returning to Birmingham for two appearances to mark the release of their second album.

The Sherlocks at Parr Street Studios in Liverpool recording their new album with producer James Skelly, of The Coral, and Chris Taylor

The South Yorkshire four-piece play an acoustic set at HMV in the Bullring on October 10 and then return for a headline show at the O2 Institute on November 3 – their first time back there since they released their debut album Live For The Moment in 2017.

The band are no strangers to some of the city’s other music venues. They had their first headline gig here at the now defunct The Rainbow in 2015 before supporting The Libertines at Arena Birmingham in January 2016 and Ocean Colour Scene at Moseley Park later that year.

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Now, they are returning to play killer tunes from their second album, Under Your Sky, released on October 4. And according to 23-year-old frontman Kiaran Crook, it is a long overdue visit.

“While we have played elsewhere in the West Midlands, it is true to say that Birmingham has unfairly missed out on our last couple of tours, but we know the place well and we can’t wait to come back again,” he told The Star.

Fans in Birmingham will be able to hear first-hand some of the results of The Sherlocks’ winter holed up at Parr Street studios in Liverpool with producer and lead singer of The Coral James Skelly working on album number two.

However, despite embarking on their biggest project so far, songwriter Crook, his brother and drummer Brandon, lead guitarist Josh Davidson and his brother and bassist Andy had not spoken to Skelly before their first day in the studio.

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“His reputation meant he was our first choice, but looking back it’s mad that we all agreed to do an album without talking or doing any pre-production first. It was a risk for everyone,” said Kiaran.

“We arrived at Parr Street on Monday morning and just cracked on. It was a bit weird, even awkward to begin with, as we had not spoken properly before. We spent the first hours sussing each other out, as well as making up ground on songs.

“After the first day, I’d be lying if I said I was happy with everything because I wasn’t. There were no bad vibes, but it was very different to when we recorded our first album with Wolverhampton producer Gavin Monaghan, who we had worked with many times before doing an album.

“I don’t know what the rest of the lads thought on that first day, but I was worried and I wondered if we were going to carry on with the album.”

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Fortunately, things quickly came together and now the band cannot speak highly enough of Skelly and the influence he and colleague Chris Taylor had over their new songs, including first single NYC (Sing It Loud) – a wide-eyed recollection of seeing the wonders of New York for the first time, but also wishing to share it with loved ones back home.

The Sherlocks at Bearded Theory Festival

“James Skelly makes songs shorter and sharper, but never loses what made them special to start with,” Kiaran adds.

Brandon added it helped that Skelly is a fellow northerner who has the same outlook on life as them. “We worked hard, but we had some fun and games too. He knows how to knock out a single and he’d jam with us to work out parts,” he said.

Kiaran thinks The Sherlocks’ new songs sound “sweeter”, but still have the upbeat guitar-fuelled melodies and harmonies that made Live For The Moment such a hit.

“We have more space in songs and have not overloaded them with layers and layers of guitars," he added. "By the time we had put down bass, drums, keyboard and a couple of rhythm tracks, most were ready for Josh’s lead guitar parts, and that is all they needed."

One song, Time To Go, is a re-worked version of a track that Kiaran wrote as a teenager and that the band played at early gigs including The Rainbow in Birmingham.

Years of gigging up and down the country have given the lads strong views about what fans should expect when paying money to see bands.

“Everything you hear from us on stage is live," said Kiaran. "Some other acts use computers and backing tracks, but that way of working is alien to us as it removes the energy and risk of performing. People get a buzz from our music because they know everything is real. Anything can happen at one of our shows.”

After fighting their way up the music industry ladder against the odds and touring their first album “until there was nowhere else to go”, Brandon said the band are ready for their next chapter.

“We feel reinvigorated at the moment," he beams. "We get a buzz when we see the new tracks on our set lists at gigs. We are ready for this album; in fact, we have been ready for a long time."

For more on The Sherlocks, including information and tickets for their two Birmingham appearances, click here.

By Richard Derbyshire

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