Drummer Brandon Crook told The Star that the South Yorkshire band were “buzzing to return” and that “it was the right time” for a homecoming gig following the release of their top ten album World I Understand in January and after touring the rest of the country.
“The shows so far have been rocking, we are playing the best of our careers,“ he explained. “In London we even added another song during the set because we were enjoying ourselves so much.”
Now Brandon, his brother and frontman Kiaran and lead guitarist Alex Procter and bassist Trent Jackson are returning to Sheffield for the first time since Tramlines last July, where, in front of 40,000 people, they played their first live set together since Alex and Trent joining the band.
And as they prepare for their biggest headline show of the year, the band exclusively told The Star that they are already working on their fourth album, which they hope to release in 2023.
“We have already recorded four tracks and are back in the studio this week,” said Kiaran.
He added: “We are working with a producer called Al Groves, and I think he is a perfect choice to help us step it up again. This next record is going to be another banger with a modern twist.”
Based at Liverpool’s Motor Museum studio, where acts like Arctic Monkeys, Oasis and Jake Bugg have recorded, hitmaker Groves is best known for working with Sheffield rockers Bring Me The Horizon, and the Crook brothers say this could be a clue to some of their new influences.
While Brandon says The Sherlocks’ will continue to record “a mix of acoustic, dance beats and rock”, Kiaran revealed the band are also experimenting with new sounds.
“We were adding some guitars to a tune the other day and we were definitely pushing the boundaries on how heavy we sound,” he said.
“We are not moving away from indie rock, but this one tune sounded heavy for us, although still being anthemic, bright and uplifting,” he added.
Recording at The Motor Museum means The Sherlocks are working in another iconic recording studio after previously retreating to both Rockfield in Monmouthshire and Parr Street in Liverpool for previous albums.
Last week, the band played at half-time in front of 34,000 fans at Hillsborough during the League One play-off semi-final against Sunderland, including their take of anthem Hi Ho Sheffield Wednesday. Both Owls and Sunderland fans praised them during a phone-in on BBC Radio Five Live.
It continues a close association with the club, which began professionally with filming the club’s first team kit launch last July on Kelham Island, although Brandon, who is the driving force behind the band’s involvement, has been a fan for years, watching more recently from the South Stand or the Kop when he was younger with his Uncle and Grandad.
He sees parallels between the club and The Sherlocks, hoping both are destined to move up to the next level through hard work, authenticity and persistence without reliance on rich owners or big music labels to buy success.
Now is a big change from when the band last appeared at O2 Academy Sheffield. Then, in late February 2020, stories of Coronavirus were already spreading, and the future of live music was already under threat. Brandon remembers when he first realised things were getting serious.
“It was actually a week or so after we played here,” he remembered. “We came off stage in Southampton, our penultimate date on the tour, and my Dad told us our trip to America was off as SXSW Festival had been cancelled. It was then I knew things were getting serious, but now we are back, and we are smashing it on our own terms.”
The past two years have also been a big change for new lead guitarist Alex, who had never visited Sheffield before joining The Sherlocks but now feels “adopted” by the city, and bassist Trent, who had never played a live gig, other than end of year shows at college, before taking to the Tramlines stage with The Sherlocks last year.
“We are playing better than ever, and the set list is so strong,” said Alex. “We are firing on all four cylinders, we have put a turbo on our performance.”
Trent added: “This tour has let us see which new songs do better live and there has been some surprises, but we now know what will work for Sheffield this weekend.”
On this tour, The Sherlocks have brought along some of the most exciting up and coming acts in support, including Crystal Tides in London and Southampton,
The Empire Police and The Royston Club in Liverpool and singer Andrew Cushin in his home city of Newcastle as well as Southampton.
Sheffield band The Warehouse Club, who played The Foundry in December and whose debut single Too Little Too Late reached number 16 in the iTunes alternative chart before they played a live gig, are supporting in Sheffield, along with rising stars The Covasettes, who also played Glasgow.
The Warehouse Club also appeared at the first date in Blackpool but lead singer Nathan Kobierowski has been along for the whole journey by working on sound on the other dates.
Joining The Sherlocks on stage, and making the big tunes even bigger, is keyboard player Jonny Oxer, who also played Tramlines with them last year.
Meanwhile, The Sherlocks may also have played a small part in Southampton’s bid to be City of Culture in 2025, as their gig there last week, which Kiaran called “decent”, was used to illustrate the strength of local music venues during a visit by competition judges. The Sherlocks also joined fans in a Southampton pub to watch the FA Cup final.
The Sherlocks play O2 Academy Sheffield Saturday 21 May 2022 and O2 Academy Leeds Saturday 25 June. They tour with Kaiser Chiefs and Fratellis in the autumn including Leeds First Direct Arena Saturday 12 November. Their album World I Understand is out now. More at thesherlocksmusic.co.uk.