Somojo Magazine

Shabby Rogue
Shabby Rogue 'Old Man' released 7th June
Catch Shabby Rogue live - June 13th – The Spice of Life, London

Shabby Rogue’s new single‘Old Man' follows up the release of the band’s debut single 'My Life as a Secret Agent’, which was released in October 2009. The single received strong support from national radio, featuring on Gideon Coe's BBC6 show, Mark Lamarr's Radio 2 show, Artrocker Radio and BFBS Worldwide Radio. Both tracks feature on Shabby Rogue’s second album ‘By Hook and By Crook’, released in March this year. The album saw rave reviews across both printed and online media, and on the merit of the album the band were featured in Artrocker Magazine’s ‘New Blood’ section in March and have been invited to perform a live session for BFBS Worldwide Radio in May. The album saw further support from 6 Music’s Gideon Coe, who featured the track ‘Every Light’ on his show throughout March.


“The Rogue are an adventurous crew…There’s a veil of magical charm spread across this album…wherever they go it’s always rich and delivered from the depths of honesty…You’d be a crook not to check ‘em out”
Artrocker Magazine

"…a staggering excursion of genres and emotions exhibiting how a wish of escape can twist into a tragically troubled masterpiece. 9/10"
Tasty Fanzine

" absolutely is a collection of wonders"
Music News

"Suffused with elements of country, blues, jazz and pure rock and roll, this feels like a labour of love, and it is an absolute delight as a result"
The Music Fix

"A heady mix of catchy melodies, pop sensibilities and ramshackle, chaotic pop-punk riffing"
Sea of Tranquillity

Shabby Rogue have been together for five years and have produced one previous album: ‘Hair Nails and Beauty’. Artrocker Magazine wrote of the band’s debut: ‘As an introduction to an outrageously good live band you could do far worse than investigate this beautiful and troubled album...'

The band features three song-writers: Johnny Famous, Shaun Litton and Tom Sheppard, all of whom sing and play guitar, bass and keys on different tracks. The line-up is complemented by Terry Green on drums.

Additional artists featured on ‘By Hook and By Crook’ include: Adam Sutherland, of The Peatbog Fairies; Thomas Truax, who engineered additional takes; and Abigail Hercules, of The Easy Tigers. The original idea for ‘By Hook and by Crook’ was to build a suite of songs that captured a sense of release: instead what the band have created is a dark, sprawling, internally driven piece of work.

The bulk of the album was recorded in a studio created from scratch in a converted barn in Llangain, Brecon Beacons. Working on a budget that would barely cover an MP’s claim for a box of cheap cigars, and under pressure of time, the recording sessions were fraught:

The whole recording experience was pretty much defined by anxiety, exhaustion and substance abuse,’ adds Tom, bassist and guitarist, ‘But I think we did three takes and we used the first. So I guess anxiety, exhaustion, substance abuse and brevity were the four elements we were hoping to capture.’

Shabby Rogue’s drummer Terry wanted to record the album entirely live, the rest of the band thought this was a damn foolish notion - what you hear is a compromise between these two positions. The complexity of some of the arrangements didn’t allow for a one-off recording, but the album still retains the chaotic and intense energy of the original live takes. Overdubs were laid down in snatched sessions over twelve months in Barnes, Soho, Brockley and Glasgow, with the ‘Brass is Always Greener’ horn section, as and when money allowed.

It's not all stygian angst though, there is a patch of clear sky in the abyss. ‘Northern Lights’ is uplifting and spirited: written as a direct response to seeing the Aurora on a trip up to Wester Ross. ‘My Future with You’ was penned a year later in Carmarthen as an option for a single. Other tracks, ‘By Hook and by Crook’ and ‘The Mountain’ were written in London, and both are anthems to the times they describe. The first single from the album, ‘My Life as a Secret Agent’, is built on a riff written in the studio: a three-minute blast of surf-pop paranoia.

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