The latest album “A Happy Medium” from Sheffield’s post-punk five-piece band SHEAFS is a tour de force defining their fervent, electric-guitar laden sound and filled with unapologetic lyricism.  

Beginning on an immediately energising note with the rousing and tense single “En Route Distress” this album is set up to be rip-roaring and in-your-face in the best way possible. With thundering percussion and storming electric guitars topped off by gritty vocals and lyricism “En Route Distress” is a track that perfectly encapsulates the SHEAF’s sound.

The lyrics of the track deal with feelings of hopelessness and purposelessness in the modern economic world, a theme that reoccurs over this album showing the SHEAFS not only have a bold approach to their instrumentals but also have the guts to tackle prevalent taboo topics in a way that ensures respect from a contemporary audience.  

The second track comes with the same charismatic aggression as the first, again with lyrics tackling the boredom and frustration of not feeling you have a purpose in the world. This time, however, with more subtlety in the melody as each instrument can be clearly heard singularly rather than it being the storm-like blend of instrumentation in “En Route Distress”. This serves to show off the neat guitar work as well as draw more attention to the lyrics of the track which read as both brave in their calling out of the apathy of modern-day society as well as self-aware as the lead vocalist sings “I’m part of the problem, hypocrisy is here”. This humble self-awareness makes the track further relatable and prevents the SHEAFS from sounding preachy or holier-than-thou as some musicians do when tackling societal problems in their work, this honest approach to their lyricism will ensure that the SHEAFS go far.  

A second way in which the SHEAFS expertly boost their likelihood of success on “A Happy Medium” is through the live-show ready, belting quality to almost all the tracks on this album. Songs such as “Vacancy” “Losing All Inhibitions”, “Spectator” and the few previously mentioned are all ones that stand out in their extreme boundless energy perfect for festival performances. The SHEAFS are a band that understand that in their genre to succeed you need to take the live performance side of things seriously if you want to start gaining a steadfast fanbase and headlines. A huge part of this bands charm lies in their rugged sound and electrifying, ear-splitting anthems. Cleverly blending post-punk with indie rock influences the SHEAFS have crafted a sound that is both accessible and audacious.  

As well as proving they can nail an absolute explosion of a track, on “A Happy Medium” the SHEAFS prove they are able to create more relaxed and slow-paced tracks that still sound undeniably like them. On the track, “For Now” the laidback, echoing guitars and vocals almost evoke a dreampop and shoegaze influence, but still with the forceful energy and memorably unique guitar chord patterns of the SHEAFS shining through.

To be able to explore their music through different sonic lenses and still have their distinctive sound there at this level in the bands career is highly impressive and shows the SHEAFS should have no problems creating the diversity of sound needed to stay relevant over the years.  

“A Happy Medium” is an album that ticks all the boxes. It proves that as a band the SHEAFS have immense skill as well as their own remarkable style. It combines the raw and bold with the relatable and professional and is filled with charismatic dynamism that will ensure that if the SHEAFS keep up at this level their success as a band will soar.