Wednesday, March 02, 2005Shellie not?
A long long time ago, in the land of the mid 1990s, there was a pop band like no other. They sung of rocketships and karma and fairydust, their photoshoots involved french fancies and bedsits and lighting cigarettes off burning copies of the Daily Mirror, japanese fabrics and heavily kohled panda eyes. They were called Alisha's Attic and had a string of sizable perfect pop hits between 1996 and 2001. They were the first band that I ever fell in love with - their self-defining single, Alisha Rules the World, summed up my 13 year-old, confused, faux-bi-polar existance perfectly. But unlike most of the other pop around at the time, much of Alisha's Attic's material stands the test of time, especially their last, and sadly least succesful, album The House we Built. EvilMercury didn't offer a contract for a fourth album and Karen and Shelly were thoroughly disillusioned with the biz, they decided not to continue with Alisha's Attic.
Karen began to carve a very succesful career out of writing for other pop artists, including Kylie Minogue, Rachel Stevens, Britney Spears, Will Young, Shapeshifters, Jamelia, Enrique, Amy Studt and many many more. Shelly (now Shellie McErlaine), however, still wanted to write and record and perform as an artist, while also making a career out of writing for other artists (including Janet Jackson!), and has recorded a solo album and played a handfull of exclusive acoustic sets over the past 6 months.
The material is something to be very excited about. There is an element of the trippy, floaty, quirkiness that characterised the Alisha's Attic sound, but it is a lot more personal and heartfelt. When she stands on stage with just an acoustic guitar, strumming away and singing with her distinctive and delicate voice, you wouldn't be mistaken in likening her too a young Joni Mitchell or Emmylou Harris. There is a real pop-singer-songwriter pedigree in there, which is hardly suprising considering that some of the songs on the first Alisha's Attic album were written almost 20 years ago! So the material from Shellie's debut solo album has the maturity and confidence found on most artist's 5th or 6th album.
Totally Underwater is what the album will be called, and due to some managerial/contractual melarky there is no set release date for it yet. But it will be soon, and Radio 2 will start playing the single "Hard Time for a Dreamer" very shortly. It really is all about to kick off for Shellie, and her beautiful perfect floaty acoustic pop will be all you want to listen to before long. In the mean time, catch her play a 4 song acoustic set in the Shakespearean Globe at The Bedford in Balham, South London on Thursday 17th March. It's free to get in and doors are at 7.30. For more info on her, check out her website.