Album Reviews

The Shires – 10 Year Plan – Album Review

The Shires can’t put out a bad album in our opinion. Each album they have released has a stronger sound, a more country style and the writing and production just gets better and better.

One of the greatest things about the music The Shires produce is that it is the kind of music that appeals to fans of all genres. Their music is so easy to listen to and so inoffensive and is simply just good music! It is no wonder when we go to concerts that many of the fans aren’t necessarily country fans and it’s this cross genre fanbase that will help The Shires success continue to grow.

10 Year Plan is for us, their best album yet. 13 sensational tracks that range from strong country sounding tunes to those belt out ballads that The Shires do so well and we all love to songs with a completely different direction which really work.

One of the more country sounding songs is Cut Me Loose. This is a song that was actually written for the My Universe album but didn’t quite fit, Crissie has been campaigning for this song ever since and now we finally have it! A song focused on Crissie’s vocals, Cut Me Loose has a strong modern country sound that bridges the gap between UK and US country music proving that The Shires have everything it takes to be on US country radio lapping up all the chart topper spots.

The US seems to be lacking female/male country duos at the moment, well not lacking because they still exist and many of them deserve to be back in the charts if have already been there and new ones deserve to break through and The Shires are strong contenders for that gap in the market. Bar Without You and Baby We’re Rich are perfect choices to win over the US. They ticks all the boxes for country radio. Bar Without You was written with Jennifer Wayne and Eric Paslay whom are both successful artists and songwriters in their own right in the US, let’s hope that helps at least this song get heard over there.

10 Year Plan is another country lovin’ tune with so much radio appeal. The instrumentation brings the melody up a notch in such a Nashville sound way! Listening to this song in the heart of music city blasting on the radio would be sublime. I think we need another Opry appearance with this song being played.

Many of the tracks on this album have a very anthem and arena like style to them such as Sparks Fly, Side by Side, I See Stars and Wild Hearts. Wild Hearts didn’t actually sink in well at first but we are thoroughly enjoying it now. It has a very dark western melody which is very slick.

A few of the songs that truly stood out as were so different to the sound we are used to from The Shires are Plot Twist, Forever Tonight and Peggy, I’m Sorry. Plot Twist has a very dark and dreamy way about it with an americana edge. Forever Tonight has a British Romantic Movie vibe surrounding it. Imagine Richard Curtis films and this song fits right in. If you can also imagine adding a bit of a jingle to this song then I can really see it being a Christmas song, especially in the chorus.

Peggy, I’m Sorry is probably our very favourite off the album. From the humming intro (which features throughout the song) to the wickedly cool guitar picking to the fresh way Ben sings this song is just so striking and blends country music with blues music perfectly. It is such a deliciously infectious song in a really remarkable way. It’s nothing like The Shires have done before and we can’t stop listening to it.

The Shires do happy love songs so well and that winning streak continues with When It Hurts. A typically Shires song with both Ben and Crissie pouring out their hearts in their emotive vocals it does not disappoint.

An album that deserves a top ten spot, 10 Year Plan has really set the bar high for not just UK country music but country music in general. Every song is powerful and brilliantly written with every detail really thought out and the production is on fire.

Purchase 10 Year Plan here

See The Shires on tour with Eric Paslay and Kezia Gill here

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