With their 2017 record, Yorkshire 4-piece indie rock outfit The Sherlocks debuted to substantial acclaim. As their album climbed to the 6 spot in the charts, front-man Kiaran Crook became touted as the next in a line of northern indie giants, compared to the likes of Tom Ogden (of The Blossoms) or U Fray. Rounding out their explosive line up is Crook’s brother, Brandon, on the drums. He is joined by Josh and Andy Davidson, on guitar and bass respectively.
In recent months fans have been treated to three new singles – NYC, Waiting and Magic Man – which have kept with the high-energy, easy listening format that brought the band’s initial success. In anticipation for their upcoming album release – Under Your Sky – I got a chance to speak with Kiaran.
Overcoming bad reception and my awkward attempts at small talk, we got around to discussing the not-insignificant hype surrounding the newest album. In particular, the most recent singles. Scheduled for release on October the 4th, I asked Kiaran how he felt about their latest project. “We’re excited. I don’t know, it’s hard to tell for us because we’re in the band and inside a bit of a bubble. But the reactions so far off these three tunes, people seem to be getting it. I think there could be some fan favourites on there.”
As a music fan, anticipating a new album can be a double-edged sword. Will it match the intensity of their earlier projects? Will it stick to what they know, and still avoid becoming stale? Or will it depart from the beaten track, determined not to rest on the laurels of riffs past? From the band’s point of view, it would seem as though they intend to double down: “It’s slightly different sounding. The way it’s produced is a little bit smoother and stuff. But the songs are still continuing from the first album really. I think the fans will get it, and they seem to be getting it so far.”
Fame and success have a way of changing people, or so the truism goes. While Crook may not have attained that level of household name quite yet, anyone fresh off a European tour with Liam Gallagher is trending in the right direction. I asked about Yorkshire, how it formed the group as musicians, and whether it remains home. Far more than influencing them, it is “who we are just because that’s where we’re from. The subject, whatever is being sung about, will be about home, as Yorkshire, and you can’t really get away from that. Like, if I’m singing about a certain place, it’ll be from surroundings.”
Crook is a musician, then, formed by context and life. Many musical heroes of my own are those who have spoken of real troubles, of real-life biography, whether this emerges as a universal project of relatability, or a dive into self-referentiality. I saw an opportunity to ask whether Crook experiential backdrop bled into his art, and in what way it did so. Judging from his answer, he leans very much to the universal in bringing the personal to his lyrics: “Sometimes its about the place where we live and stuff. But as you say, I think I’m trying to always start of with like a personal story, something no one would get cos it’s something only id know. The challenge is like to make sure everyone will get it – make sure it’s not too personal, write it in a way that everyone will get it.”
Whatever the sway of his creative vision over the project as a whole, Crook is a man who, in typical Yorkshire fashion, is keen to spread the praise equally. When asked about the role of his lyricism in the creative process, he replied that “I don’t think there’s any process for us really you know. We’ve had songs that start with a riff, and we build. Like Magic Man, the second tune we released, was all based around the guitarist, and the last thing we wrote was the lyrics. And we’ve had songs that start with the chorus, like lyrics, so it changes each time for us.”
As my time with Kiaran drew to a close, we reflected on what motivated the band. Inspiration, drive and purpose needless to say are varying in origin from artist to artist. Playing for yourself, playing for your band-mates, playing for others. Without doubt in these areas there is no common denominator. Crook, however, is very clear as to what drives this group. “The fans. We’re very fan-oriented, like that’s how our band started, we get involved with the fans, and we’ve built this band off the fans. It’s been the main thing to be honest – to get to a position where we’re releasing a second album.”
What the future holds for Yorkshire’s rising stars, who can say? Longevity, coupled with productivity, is remarkably hard to come by. The brightest of stars have crashed or fizzled far before anyone thought they would. And still, tomorrow looks bright for the Barnsley quartet. If the three singles released so far this year are any indication, Under Your Sky may well match the commercial success of its predecessor. Whatever happens, fans can rest assured: they are at the foremost of this rock group’s best intentions.