The Sheepdogs: Changing Colours Review

The Sheepdogs’ new album Changing Colours, out now on Dine Alone Records (U.S.) and Warner Music (Canada), makes the 1970s rock scene sound like it’s alive and well–basically, it’s the Sheepdogs doing what they do best. More than two years have passed since the Sheepdogs released their last album Future Nostalgia, and more than six since the Saskatchewan rockers were selected by Rolling Stone readers from a pool of then-unsigned bands to land on the magazine’s cover. In that time, the quintet remained dependable in its commitment to rock, producing music on album after album that closely reflects the sounds that first inspired its members.

Changing Colours makes a soothing Sunday morning soundtrack for the classic rock fan, comforting to those of us that miss artists like Crosby, Stills and Nash or Journey while we’re driving along with the radio dial turned to the local new rock station. Even the music video for the album’s first single “I’ve Got a Whole Where My Heart Should Be” looks like it popped out of the 1970s, complete with paisley accents on lead singer Ewan Currie’s shirt and psychedelic camera effects in hues of purple and orange. Every rock band coming of age in the 21st century has to make the same decision: will it take a chance on reinventing rock for the modern era, or will it channel the energy of decades past? The first risky choice is one at which we’ve seen hundreds of bands struggle to succeed, very few of them making a mark on the music scene, and fewer still making marks that last. The second option is in many ways safer, though it is difficult for bands that choose this path to sound musically original.

It takes fewer than 10 seconds of listening to Changing Colours to identify the Sheepdogs’ choice. Echoes of Crosby, Stills and Nash’s harmonizing can be heard on “Run Baby Run,” while songs like album opener “Nobody” and “Saturday Night” sound like an amalgamation of ‘70s bands as varied as Steve Miller Band and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Different from past Sheepdogs albums is the extent to which the band embraces a country twang, evident in “Let it Roll” and “Cherries Jubilee.” Also pleasing is the inclusion of five jam tracks without vocals (“Kiss the Brass Ring,” “Cherries Jubilee,” “The Bailieboro Turnaround,” “Hms Buffalo” and “Esprit Des Corps”), which boosts the album by giving it a sense of movement and spontaneity.

The 1970s was a relatively comfortable time for rock artists: the genre was established, record companies supported the cause and the public was behind the music. There’s little question as to why a rock band today would emulate that era, and the Sheepdogs are well poised as capable, dedicated musicians to do so. On Changing Colours, the band explores many of the pockets of music known generally today as ‘“70s rock,” and though their original takes on the storied era never quite erase the derivative echoes of their predecessors, the Sheepdogs nevertheless deliver a solid album that classic rock loyalists will readily embrace.

The Review: 7.5/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– I’ve Got a Hole Where My Heart Should Be
– Saturday Night
– Born a Restless Man
– Run Baby Run

The Big Hit

– I’ve Got a Hole Where My Heart Should Be

Review by Meghan Roos

Buy the album: Amazon | Amazon UK

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One Response to “The Sheepdogs: Changing Colours Review”

  1. BigGary says:

    This rating is too low! There are a lot of albums on here rated higher and suck!

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