New songs by The Shires – some two years after their Good Years, the British state-of-the-art country artists are releasing a new album. I had a listen to The 10 Year Planbefore the album’s release date on 11th May 2022. Here are my thoughts.
The Shires – About The Artists
The Shires are a British country and pop duo. I already gave some bio information during my Good Years review.
The Shires – The 10 Year Plan – Track by Track
The thirteen song album lasts 44 minutes.
1. Cut Me Loose
No doubt from the very first moment: The Shires have been able to deliver high quality music and are likely the only act from Europe, who are able to do so constantly on the country / country-pop sector. Cut Me Loose is a great opener – and it would also be a Nashville smasher, if the duo would be US-American. Great modern country music sound.
2. Sparks Fly
The second song Sparks Fly is slower, almost has a bit of a ballad and pop song touch. I struggle a bit with this one at the beginning – but the longer (and: the more often) I listen to it, it moves into my comfort zone. However, Cut Me Loose is definitely in a stronger position in my country music heart.
3. Side By Side
Crissie Rhodes opens the song in the style of a piano ballad. With the first chorus, there is much more intensity, but the song stays slow and very emotional. Beautiful listen.
When I realize If every home was a star in the sky What are the chances that you and I Would be side by side?
4. Plot Twist
The album starts with a lot of slow tracks. Plot Twist is another one. And even though the song does create a nice atmosphere, it somehow also bores me a bit. I am sure many of you will enjoy it much more than I do.
5. Ten Year Plan
The title track is somehow hiding in the middle part of the album. Nice work with playful guitar melody lines and at least some more energy and tempo. The song has a nice chorus, which stays in your mind – on the other hand, it is not coming with too striking elements, which make it feel different to other songs on the album.
6. I See Stars
The first familiar listen during the review. I liked I See Stars when it has been released, but in the context of its predecessors on this album, it feels significantly less special. At least (again), the chorus can add some positive thoughts and feelings.
7. Bar Without You
I could drink burbon, I could drink wine, but I can’t drink enough to get you off my mind.
Don’t The Shires somehow show that they are assimilated by the Nashville music scene by that song? They are even including alcohol into the topics reflected in their album – a basic rule in the 1×1 of stereotypes of the genre. The song feels much more powerful than the songs, which I absolutely appreciate. But the song is not as good as a bunch of the Good Years ones.
8. Baby Were Rich
The wealth stated in this song is of course more aiming to thank for the emotional enjoyment to love each other. The song is a bit of mainstream – but how would you best describe it? It gets the job done, literally. Nice one.
Ben Earle is taking a bit more of a lead in this beautiful ballad. Nice listen.
10. Wild Heart
The single release with its very unique rhythm is one of the signature songs of the album, for sure. Nice work with pop and Americana elements – however, overall this one is rather a pop song.
11. Forever Tonight
Forever Tonight comes with an R&B-alike groove, but still has a country-pop sound. This leads to a very interesting blend. Finally, this leads to more focus on this song than it deserves on this album.
12. Peggy I’m Sorry
Peggy I’m Sorry is explicitly marked as a demo recording. Fans might love it, as it gives a rare insight how the band is working. However, to me, the recording is confusing.
13. When It Hurts
The sound of the closing track is very traditional, you might even feel some sprinkles of bluegrass while listening. Nice melodic work, especially on the guitar side. I love you when it hurts – The album is finishing with a touch of warmth and harmony.
The Shires – The 10 Year Plan – Spotify
I will add the Spotify widget once the album has been released.
The Shires – The 10 Year Plan – My View
I already stated in my previous album review that I am not that much a fan of The Shires. Nonetheless, I loved their 2020 Good Years. The album received a massive rating. I don’t see this quality in The 10 Year Plan. The Brits are gifted songwriters, gifted musicians and vocalists – but the album feels very monotonous and boring to me. Only a few songs are at least somehow close to the quality of the predecessor album. Is The 10 Year Plan a fail? No, Ben and Crissie are simply too good for that. But these two superb musicians simply should do better than they do here.