‘Expect great things’: Review – ‘Come To Life’, Shady Baby

Despite having only released one record, it doesn’t feel rash to say that you can expect great things from Brighton newcomers Shady Baby.

If you’re a fan of energetic indie, there’s a good chance you’ve been keeping half an eye on indie label Nice Swan Records. Having already signed bands like English Teacher, Sports Team and FEET, their newbies Shady Baby have a lot to live up to. Luckily their debut track has crashed right into place on Nice Swan’s forceful roster.

The musical venture of frontman Sam Leaver, Shady Baby began as a one-man operation from Leaver’s bedroom. Filled with the angst of anyone trapped inside during months of lockdowns, his first tracks of pent-up pop set up Shady Baby’s energetic tone.

Shady Baby

After approaching Brighton producer Theo Verney with a handful of demos the two musically bonded, with Verney helping the band develop their debut work. All the while, Leaver boosted Shady Baby’s numbers from one to four: first came childhood friend-turned-guitarist Laurie Debnam, who Leaver ran into by chance at a house party. After adding Nick Varnana on bass and Tom Jackson on drums, Shady Baby was complete.

Debut single ‘Come To Life’ is instrumentally heavy – Jackson provides a torrent of rhythm, while bass and guitar burst at the tracks seams from the get-go. Leaver offers up surprisingly mellow vocals; combined with a catchy chorus, his buttery voice wouldn’t be out of place on a Stone Roses album.

Describing the track, Leaver call it an ‘angry response to feeling like people treated you like shit but you let them get away with it. Feeling both angry at them but also at yourself for letting it happen’. The track’s indignant lyrics place it in line with the new-era brit-pop that Nice Swan have so expertly curated.

Having sold out their first headline show before even releasing ‘Come To Life’, it’s clear that both Brighton’s producers and public have had faith in Shady Baby from the start. With their first single establishing a steadfast indie-rock blue print, we’ll have to wait and see they construct in the coming months.

Words by Kate Bowie

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