After such a turbulent and unpredictable week for music, with new Coronavirus restrictions cancelling shows and Rishi Sunak infamously calling on musicians to “retrain”, an EP entitled ‘Shine On’ seems way too optimistic for the times we live in. Yet, George Rowlands’ latest release is a reminder of the beacon of hope that grassroots music represents in the performing arts sector, with a versatile blend of anthemic guitar riffs and chilled ballads.
Hailing from Shrewsbury, Shropshire, Rowlands has already had musical success as Liam Gallagher in Oasis tribute act “Oas-is”, playing venues across the country. Now, Rowlands is going it alone, but on most more amicable terms than his namesake. I don’t think there was any smashed guitars or a cancelled Paris show. However, whilst their solo careers may have begun in different ways, the EP is so reminiscent of Liam Gallagher that you can visualise the Stone Island parka and a 16-year-old setting off a pyro.
The EP begins with ‘Danger Zone’: a big guitar entrance, echoey vocals, strong drums. There are few better ways to stop the listener from skipping the song. With a Gallagher snarl, which Rowlands has had plenty of time to perfect, the opener is bound to keep you listening. Yet, the EP is not a collection of Oasis rip-offs (meaning this as a compliment), but shows great variation as the record continues. The next track ‘Love at first sight’ sounds much more like a Mumford and Son’s track, which again is a compliment. With a much softer sound, but not devoid of the flare of his opener, the EP is daringly versatile for a debut.
The chilled vibe carries through the EP, with the ironically titled ‘Nightmare’ being much more of a ballad than a guitar-heavy, mosh pit-creating track. However, arising from its slumber, the crowd-pleaser in Rowlands is resurrected with the eponymous closer ‘Shine On’. Steady, poignant, anthemic: the EP comes to a superlative close. Whilst the record may not be to everyone’s tastes, with the fans of “edgy music” practically throwing up when they hear something with a Gibson or Les Paul-sounding track, the EP could not have been any greater start for Rowlands’ solo career – out 23rd October!
You can stream the full EP below!
Words by: Tom Farmer