It's quite comical that some people (who haven't met me) think that because I write a music blog I must be some sort of hip trendy dude. Far from it. The reality is that, myself and most music bloggers I’ve met are far from cool. Put a couple of us in a room together and we’ll sit and happily have a geek-off for hours obsessing about nothing but music. Why on earth would we spend money on trendy clothes and haircuts and hanging out at cool clubs and bars when we could spend it on enlarging our record collections?
However, being a music nerd and particularly one who loves new music does mean that from time to time I end up writing about artists that are considered trendy (note: trendiness never lasts, it’s transient, and generally relies on another factor – youth) but I’ve never written about those artists because of that. It’s always been because I like what they've created.
So today I’m featuring the new single from UK duo The Shires – a band who I’m sure are in no way considered trendy. They’re probably considered the opposite of that and I'm positive they really couldn’t care. After all, in the UK country music has never really been perceived as cool.
Yet if trendiness is linked to youth you might be surprised to know that according to a recent CMA study 47% of 18-24 year olds now identify themselves as country music fans. And irrespective of how you perceive The Shires and their music, they’ve been doing rather nicely in terms of finding an audience as I predicted when I named them as Ones to Watch back in 2014. Since that time The Shires have become the biggest-selling country act in the UK last year (including US artists), and one of the biggest-selling breakthrough UK artists of any genre alongside James Bay, Years & Years & Jess Glynn.
And unlike those three acts I’ve just named The Shires haven’t continued to flog the hell out their debut record until people are sick of it. They’ve already got another album in the bag (it’s out in October) and kick it off with this song Beats To Your Rhythm. Whilst the title of the song might sound like The Shires have discovered a new previously hidden dance direction, fear not. For this new tune does exactly what you want from The Shires, namely country music is a reference point, but it also has a big old fashioned pop heart.
Maybe The Shires aren’t the sort of band you’d expect to find on a hip trendy new music blog. But then Breaking More Waves has never been about being hip or trendy - you should be able to tell that just from landing here and seeing that I still post via an old-school blogspot template.
Take a listen to Beats To Your Rhythm - a rousing, glad to be alive hook laden tune that I imagine will be all over BBC Radio 2 this summer. It was released to streaming services today.
The Shires - Beats To Your Rhythm