Liverpudlian girl-trio Stealing Sheep are effortlessly fresh-faced, embracing psychedelic swoops and loops; they create a homespun hippyish vibe in a way that’s honest and fun rather than affectedly occult (I can see them dressing up in kaftans, but not faffing around with crystals).
They may be sweet-voiced, but there are parts of Into the Diamond Sun that are pretty mad; there’s a synthesiser in ‘Gold’ that mimicks seventies sci-fi, and their sound reminds me, in its gentle eccentricity, of The Magic Roundabout. ‘The Garden’ is about rambling around outside like a restless child (“Five o’ clock on Sunday morning – what you want is hiding out there – five o’clock on Sunday morning – why don’t you come and take me out?”), and ‘Circles’ feels like a rave in a crop circle. There’s a playground feel to all the handclapping and adventure.
There are murkier moments, too: ‘Rearrange’ starts off in deliberate flatness and doubt before an unexpectedly uplifting ending at dawn, and ‘Shut Eye’ tackles dark thoughts in the night with a light touch: “You’d be better off dead”, they chirp – some sleep might be needed.
‘Genevieve’ is a crowd-pleasing girl-band romp; ‘Shark Song’ is unabashedly silly, and ‘Liven Up’ makes me think of weightless teenage friendships. Stealing Sheep are a bit off-kilter, and might even count as an acquired taste, but you’d have to be a curmudgeon to dislike them. ‘Bear Tracks’ shows off their ability to surprise and shift moods, beginning with falling in love and ‘falling apart’ before veering into dreamy choral singing with jangling bells, followed by a long, beautiful, purely piano-based finale.
Words by Becky Varley–Winter