Review: High Hazels, Shakespeares, Gibraltar Street

High Hazels
High Hazels
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T’S almost certain to say High Hazels are the best band ever to be named after a Darnall Park.

Tonight, at a sold-out Christmas show at city centre boozer Shakespeares, this gang of four Sheffield school friends are fabulous.

They are young and they have songs that sound a little like The Walkmen and a little like The Coral, and they have a singer who might just be the most handsome man in Sheffield, except maybe for that bloke with the handlebar moustache at The Great Gatsby.

But here’s a quibble, they also have lyrical themes which are more Fifties than the Suez Canal Crisis. References to carousels and tape reels might sound all right coming from some grizzled working men’s club turn – you know, like Hawley – but from four lads who aren’t much older than Facebook, it grates.

So, it’s a good thing the actual songs themselves are so damn catchy; kind of like The Crookes but with extra Longpigs. Lead singer James Leesley’s voice, in particular, is an instrument in its own right, a searing fireside growl refracting Hamilton Leithauser circa 2005 through Sean Bean circa that bit in Game Of Thrones when he takes down about 12 baddies without breaking sweat.

Debut single Hearts Are Breaking is particularly effecting and shows why the band are widely considered perhaps the finest young group in Sheffield right now.

A mention too for support The Orielles, a Halifax girl-boy-girl trio who look about 12 but have some delicious little pop nuggets tucked away in their arsenal.

But tonight is all about High Hazels.

One day they’re going to be even more loved than that park.