— No More Division Music Review
From South London, Thursday Night Shift are a roots-rock band with a folk-blues twist, featuring stripped memorable guitar riffs, interwoven with mellow trumpet refrains to support strong vocal melodies and harmonies.
The band began when guitarists Brian Coulton & Derek Wylie met while watching their sons play football for their local team and where they discovered a shared love of music and guitars which progressed to meeting up every Thursday night after work to play and write music.
Initially, this led to the recording of original songs for debut album ‘Feast’ recorded with jazz drummer Temi Gordons. Influenced by other guitar-led artists such as Wilsen, Richard Thompson, Jayhawks, etc. the album was guitar-led and deliberately stripped.
A later project inspired by the refugee crisis introduced new musicians to the band including; Armand Ste.Croix on trumpet , vocalists Minnie Cunningham and Sophia El Salahi and Brianna Ste.Croix on bass guitar. The new band roster brought opportunity for experimenting with a broader soundscape and particularly in combining vocal harmonies and guitars with the voice-like quality of Ste.Croix’s trumpet.
When developing the band’s expanded sound the songwriters decided to remaster the debut album to include contributions from the new musicians and new album 'Feast (Remastered)' was released last Summer.
A review by Jamie Robash (No More Division) described 'Feast' as “mesmerising” and praised its “craftmanship and touching narratives", as well as highlighting the albums mix of “musical and lyrical emotion” - see full review here.
However, the main project during summer was to record a new album of 10 songs, titled 'Fake Muse'. Musically, the album continues the band’s mainly guitar-focused sound but there’s no denyng the influence that the addition of trumpet and layered vocals has had in charting a new direction.
Vocals and harmonies were also developed to create mood and emphasis. Sometimes these are choral-like as in ‘The Embrace’, were the harmonies of Cunningham & El Salahi evoke the questioning voice. Similarly, in ‘Sixteen-Ten’ & ‘Rise Up’ the choral vocals add a spiritual otherness and comfort over the plea of extended instrumentals. In ‘Eden’ the soulful repeat of the refrain “Oh Lord hear my prayer…” emphasises the agony and hope of contemplating escape. By contrast the child-like vocal in ‘YouSeeMe’ reinforces the parody that nothing has changed and big brother is still watching.
A review by Matt Jensen (Divide And Conquer) described 'Fake Muse' as "emotionally resonant and powerful", highlighting individual songs "as warm and beautiful", as well as "joyous and celebratory". Jensen also praised the "symbiotic relationship" of the instrumentation, as well as the "notable vocal harmonies and impressive crescendos that feel empowering" - see full review here.