Shanty are a North West London based 7-piece Party-Reggae collective, that as a band, create music compiled of stomping bass, soulful hooks, inspirational aesthetics and party vibes which bring the listener to life. They have a classic Reggae sound that is so refreshing, but it also inhibits infusions of electronic, Hip Hop and Soul, that bound together, make up the signature Shanty sound.
These young guys have already been championed by BBC 1Xtra’s David Rodigan among other industry taste makers, and with the recent release of their debut EP Leave Me Out, which as a project is bursting with flavour, it is not hard to see why they are rapidly garnering themselves an array of support, from fans and critics alike. Shanty are already wading in the water of giants and this emerging band of Reggae brothers look like they are extremely close to paving their own path and becoming a name all of their own.
If you haven’t already checked out Shanty’s EP then I order you to finish reading this article and then step right to it, and pay particular attention to my personal favourite “Rise Up“, which is the third track on the EP. The song starts with a heavy bassline and horn accompaniment and frontman Ben Willis booming vocals that, when they storm into the track, shock the listener and snap them out of the happy-go-lucky haven that previous track “Bohemian Soul” had just secluded them in. This shift in style is something that continues throughout their music, which keeps you on your toes and in suspense for what is next, whilst still maintaining a signature sound that holds it all together.
I have had the pleasure of seeing Shanty live on more than one occasion and they are an act I highly recommend to anyone who loves a night bursting with incredible atmosphere, or who like me just appreciates live music at its best. These guys are a true testament to how live music should sound, as they are over flowing with enthusiasm and fresh beats, and as a group, their charisma is so enchanting, that you get taken on an exotic journey, and for a moment you could be any where. Shanty simply have a knack for crafting music that could make even the shyest person forget all inhibitions and get their skank on.
Willis’ vocals deserve some attention here as well, as they are so infectious that they pull the audience in and make them feel completely at home, and even though he may have that charismatic Reggae tone, he also has the ability to bring a darker edge, which can be heard on the EP’s opening number and title track “Leave Me Out“. This is a great example as the song entails themes of lying and cheating, and yet still going back for more – misery loves company and all that reggae.
“Leave Me Out”:
Shanty took their modern twist on classic reggae to some impressive festival stages over the summer including Glastonbury, Boomtown Fair, Secret Garden Party, Leopallooza and an array of others, as well as recording their EP in the infamous Sawmills studio in Cornwall, who has had the likes of Oasis, The Verve, Supergrass and The Stone Roses record there, which demonstrates the potential, passion and the damn right talent that these guys have to offer. I can see great things for Shanty and I just hope that as they get more well known and their gigs get more expensive, that bass man, and one of my oldest friends, Jake Butler will still be able to help a brother out and get me in, because every Shanty live performance feels like the first time, and I want to experience it again and again.
One thing is crystal clear after listening to Shanty live, or after hearing their debut EP, and its that Shanty deserve a huge amount of support for their offerings, as it is extremely rare to hear praise about a British reggae band, due to Jamaica and the United States kind of dominating the genre, however if Shanty continue to head in the direction they have started, they will be paving a way and setting an example for British reggae everywhere.
Purchase: Shanty – Leave Me Out EP (iTunes)
Words by Kerrie Lobb // Edited by Ayo Adepoju