Shed Seven head for Leeds Millennium Square this weekend with new album A Matter Of Time confirmed for next January

Shed Seven 2023: Regulars Rick Witter, left, Paul Banks, second from right, and Tom Gladwin, right, with new additions Rob ‘Maxi’ Maxfield and Tim Willis. Picture: Barnaby Fairley

SHED Seven will mark their 30th anniversary by releasing their first album in more than six years, A Matter Of Time, on new home Cooking Vinyl on January 12 2024.

Look out for special guest contributions from The Libertines’ Peter Doherty, Happy Mondays’ backing singer Rowetta and Reverend And The Makers’ Laura McClure.  

The announcement coincides with today’s release of lead single Kissing California, their first new material since November 2017’s fifth studio album, Instant Pleasures, on BMG. Their first too since guitarist/keyboardist Joe Johnson and drummer Alan Leach left the York band after the 2021 summer festival season.

The remaining Shed three, vocalist Rick Witter, guitarist Paul Banks and bassist Tom Gladwin, have since been joined by keyboardist Tim Willis, from Ian Brown’s band, and Audioweb/Ian Brown drummer Rob ‘Maxi’ Maxfield for their live engagements, and they now play on the new album too.

This also will be the line-up for the Sheds’ Sounds Of The City 2023 outdoor gig at Millennium Square, Leeds, on Saturday, when Cast and York combo Skylights will be on the 6pm bill too, and for an eight-date headline tour (with no Yorkshire shows, alas) in October.

For A Matter Of Time, the Sheds reconnected with the classic albums that first inspired them to form a band in York in 1990. The resulting record “sparkles with the liberated exuberance and full-throttle rock’n’roll attitude of a group who are making music for the sheer joy of expressing themselves and performing together”. Three songs out of 12 featuring “Let’s Go” in the title would testify to that!

Sheds’ publicist Simon Blackmore, of Black Arts PR, reports: “While the album broadens the Shed Seven sonic palette a touch, it’s full of the towering, arms-in-the-air anthems and yearning melancholia that fans have come to love them for.”

Shed Seven line-up, 2007-2021: from left, Tom Gladwin, Joe Johnson, Rick Witter, Alan Leach and Paul Banks

As with Instant Pleasures, the album was produced by the Grammy Award-winning Youth – famed for his work with Pink Floyd, Paul McCartney, The Orb, Killing Joke and The Verve – at his residential El Mirador Studios in Andalucia, southern Spain, before being completed by leading mixer Cenzo Townshend (Florence + The Machine, Inhaler).

Paul Banks says: “For this album, we took a nostalgic journey back to our roots, immersing ourselves in the records and sounds that ignited our passion for songwriting at the tender age of 12.

“The influences of bands like The Smiths, R.E.M., U2, Simple Minds, The Cure and Duran Duran permeate every note, making it a heartfelt homage to those cherished times. It embodies the essence of rebirth, empowering individuals to embrace their true selves without inhibition.

“With utmost conviction, we declare this as the pinnacle of our musical endeavours: the record we’ve always yearned to create.”

Lead single Kissing California is billed as “instantly addictive, with chiming guitars, sun-scorched melodies and charismatic vocals all contributing to its life-affirming positivity”.  

Rick Witter asserts: “Kissing California is Shed Seven’s summer anthem. It’s essentially a celebration of being alive and grabbing the opportunity to paint the town red with someone special and have the best of times. It’s the medicine we all need sometimes.”

Elsewhere, A Matter Of Time flows from adrenalised punky power-pop right through to epic slow-burners, further bolstered by Rowetta contributing fervent gospel vocals to In Ecstasy, Laura McClure singing on the folk-pop Tripping With You and Peter Doherty duetting with Witter on the dramatic closer Throwaways.

The poster for Shed Seven’s sold-out outdoor show at Millennium Square, Leeds, on Saturday

A Matter Of Time can be pre-ordered or pre-saved at A wide range of physical formats is available with exclusives for Amazon, Assai Records, HMV and selected indie stores. A special bonus A Matter Of Time: Deep Cuts CD is available only with bundles purchased from the Sheds’ official store, with options including a signed digipak CD, a signed dolphin-coloured vinyl and a dual pink/green cassette.

Shed-heads who pre-order A Matter Of Time from the official store will receive access to a pre-sale for tickets for this autumn’s UK tour. The pre-sale will open at 9.30am on Wednesday, July 19 and will remain live until any remaining tickets go on general sale at 9.30am on Friday, July 21.

Those autumn dates will be: October 19, The Tramshed, Cardiff; October 20, London O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire; October 21, Rock City, Nottingham; October 23, Victoria Hall, Stoke-on-Trent; October 24, Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton; October 26, The Barrowlands Ballroom, Glasgow; October 27, Middlesbrough Town Hall, and October 28, Albert Hall, Manchester.

Before then come this weekend’s sold-out, 6,000-capacity gig at Millennium Square, Leeds, and a headline set at Party At The Palace, Linlithgow, Scotland, on August 12.

Shed Seven emerged as one of the big hitters during the heyday of Britpop, their catalogue of singles taking in 15 Top 40 hits from 1994’s Dolphin to 2003’sWhy Can’t I Be You?. Seven made the Top 20: 1995’s Getting Better and Going For Gold (a maximum high of number eight); 1996’s On Standby, Chasing Rainbows and She Left Me On Friday; 1998’s The Heroes and 1999’s Disco Down.

This was complemented by the albums Change Giver (1994), A Maximum High (1996), Let It Ride (1998), Going For Gold: The Greatest Hits (1999) and Truth Be Told (2001).

Their popularity has risen anew since reforming in 2007, notably with 2017’s Instant Pleasures album debuting at number eight, their highest-charting record in 18 years. Sold-out shows have included Leeds First Direct Arena, the Brixton O2 Academy, London, and Manchester’s O2 Victoria Warehouse, while their June 2018 open-air concert at Castlefield Bowl, Manchester, drew a crowd of 8,000.   

Hot off the presses: The artwork for Shed Seven’s sixth studio album, A Matter Of Time, released next January

A Matter Of Time: album track listing

1.Let’s Go

2. Kissing California

3. Talk Of The Town

4. Let’s Go Dancing

5. In Ecstasy (featuring Rowetta)

6. Tripping With You (feat. Laura McClure)

7. Let’s Go (Again)

8. Real Love

9. F:K:H

10. Ring The Changes

11. Starlings

12. Throwaways (feat. Peter Doherty)

Just to clarify

SHED Seven were formed in 1990 by Rick Witter (vocals), Joe Johnson (guitar/keyboards), Tom Gladwin (bass) and Alan Leach (drums). Next year’s 30th anniversary celebrations mark the 1994 release of debut double A-side Mark/Casino Girl and debut album Change Giver.

REVIEW: Big Ian Donaghy’s verdict on Alan Leach’s debut solo album after Sheds’ exit

Alan Leach: “Like a boxer, he has had the bravery and confidence to drop his hands to wield an unexpected knockout punch”

Alan Leach, I Wish I Knew Now What I Thought I Knew Then, released on November 4

“DON’T get fooled again…”

Whoever thought that Alan Leach was the quirky, cooky Peter Tork character in Shed Seven or just a fantastic Keith Moon-esque drummer who did handsprings over his kit with varying degrees of landing success are so wrong…

Alan has to be one of the most talented, bright people I have ever met with a rare mix of aptitude and creativity.

Basically, in whatever he does, he gets s**t done.

A great drummer…

A proven songwriter…

A cracking studio engineer who never believed he was…

But he WAS!

Then, with his family, they have created Speed Quizzing, which has an ever-growing empire worldwide.

I remember once telling him as he came to my pub quizzes to be tortured…

“Al, it’s a lovely idea but not everyone has these fancy phones!”

I wonder if these ‘fancy phones’ caught on!

Al has always surprised me…

Ever since he managed to get with his amazing wife Jane Leach.

Best deal he ever sealed.

But this new twist has taken me by surprise…

I never saw this coming…

It may surprise you too.

After taking an indefinite break from the Sheds since last year, Alan has made a solo album.

Like a boxer, he has had the bravery and confidence to drop his hands to wield an unexpected knockout punch.

This nine-track album of his self-penned songs are first-listen beautiful…

Like nine peeks behind his curtains, they show you so much.

A Dozen Of Me will enter your head and never leave. The most gentle of earworms with a lifetime of squatters’ rights ahead.

The true joy of these short stories is they don’t try too hard…

Nothing is desperately pioneering, ground-breaking, edgy or clever…

All of the playing is understated – there only to cradle the song…

To fit in…not stand out.

They make me smile and almost teary as they are steeped in growing up in the ’70s and ’80s…a melting pot of 90s’ pop blended with my Mam’s early 70s’ record collection.

In no time, these songs, laden with gentle hooks, feel like old friends without being derivative.

Charming short stories that nonchalantly roll a hand grenade across the table to deliver a poignant killer line when you least expect it.

Get it listened to.

Your ears will thank you.

I Wish I Knew Now What I Thought I Knew Then track listing:

A Dozen Of Me; Clouds Behind The Moon; Erica; Going For A Song; The One Love Generation;
If This Comes Off; Anthem For The Here And Now; Things Like This; Clouds Behind The Moon (orchestral version).

Fact file:

Album engineered and mixed by Mickey Dale.

Former Shed Seven cohort Joe Johnson plays guitar on three numbers, including the co-written Erica.

Alan’s son, Sonny, plays guitar on various tracks. York singer-songwriter Hayley Hutchinson duets on the ballad If This Comes Off.

Alan Leach says:

“ONE small step for everyone else, one giant leap for Alankind. I’ve written, recorded and finally released my solo studio album and it’s available to hear on all the obvious places. It’s a big deal to me as it’s pretty much taken over the last 18 months of my life.

“If you do one thing for me ever, please listen to it from start to finish, tell your friends if you like it and tell absolutely nobody if you don’t. Thanks to everyone who has helped me with this and a big thanks in advance to anyone who takes the time out to listen and share it for me. Cheers all. X”

Alan Leach, Shed Seven drummer from 1990 to 2021, will play two all-seated home-city gigs at The Crescent, York, on December 2 and 3 with a full band in tow. Doors: 7.30pm; on stage, 8.30pm. Tickets:

The poster for Alan Leach’s brace of full-band gigs at The Crescent, York, next month to promote his debut solo album