Track-by-Track: Watching the Sky by Sheppard

We meaningfully and professionally evaluate the Australian indie pop band’s latest album

By: Alex Bloom, Courtney Miller, Zach Siddiqui, Natasha Tar

“Watching the Sky”

Alex Bloom: I feel like I’m listening to the soundtrack of some inspiring, feel-good Pixar film about an animal.

Courtney Miller: I’m not a big believer in intro songs to begin with, but I guess as intro songs go, it’s not the worst? Lots of ethereal voices layered up which was cool though.

Zach Siddiqui: I’m already bored. Although maybe this would make a good background track for the beginning of some teen movie?

Natasha Tar: This intro is adorable, but I’m super glad that it’s only 50 seconds long.

“Coming Home”

AB: Reminds me of Christian rock?

CM: Transition to this song was smooth AF, and the percussion finally brings it to life. So far, lyrics aren’t changing my life, but they’re decent. I dunno, I’m kind of into it.

ZS: Nice transition. Lyrics are mega tired. Things slipping through your hands? Catching moments? Get some new feelings, dude.

NT: OK, but why didn’t you just stick that 50-second intro onto this song? What’s the point of having a random bit at the beginning of your album? The lyrics are cute and good for easy listening. Overall a bit too long, though.

“Keep Me Crazy”

AB: Lyrically, this is pretty tame for a track titled “Keep Me Crazy.”

CM: Abrupt tone change, sets it up for a bit of a heavier song musically. It lifts right back up though, which was a bit disappointing. The sparse chorus is nice.

ZS: Oh, this is kinda bouncy and fun! Still sort of basic, though.

NT: This instantly reminded me of new U2, but transitions into something else. Very indie. Not bad, though.

“Love Me Now”

AB: I’m liking the change in vocals. All of these songs have been very similar, instrumentally, but I like this track the best so far. “Love Me Now” sounds a bit impatient though. . .

CM: Whoa, a wild lady singer appears! A great switch-up just in time to prevent monotony. A little whiny lyrically, but certainly not a dealbreaker. Some good melodies in this. The outro is chill.

ZS: Liking the vocals a lot better here, and I think this song is a lot more catchy and has a much easier to remember refrain than the first two.

NT: Where’d this girl come from? She’s doing great, but I think I like this song less than the two before it.

“We Belong”

AB: Upbeat and inoffensive, but pretty generic.

CM: The intro reminds me of “Slow Dance Night” by This Century, and honestly the song as a whole reminds me of that album, Biography of Heartbreak. It’s pretty standard indie/alt-pop. Strong vocals, though.

ZS: Another song that sounds like it belongs at a high school dance from movies in the early 2000s, before high school dances turned into weird raves where everyone started grinding against the trophy case (or maybe that was just my school?) Pretty idyllic and cute!

NT: The beat is pretty fun at first, but now that I compare the male singer to the singer from the last song, I don’t really like his voice. Suddenly, it starts sounding like a song right out of High School Musical. I can totally imagine a Troy/Gabriella duo here.

“Edge of the Night”

AB: Catchy opening, and slightly more interesting vocals from this dude. I suppose I’d put this on a playlist for a party. Not sure what to think of that baritone voice interjecting into the song, though.

CM: “Don’t tell me you can’t find time to party.” Buddy, listen to me, I got no time for anything, including parties. Every minute is spent trying to escape this hellhole called SFU. And oh my God, that surprise drop to a bass voice, I’m cackling. The fake ending before the real ending is too extra.

ZS: I like this! I think I would have liked it a lot better if I hadn’t already heard the first few songs and acclimated to the style though. Not sure how I feel about the surprise voice partway through.

NT: WHAT IS THIS LOW VOICE THING. IS IT THE EASTER ISLAND HEAD FROM NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM? The other vocalist is good, though.

“Live for You”

AB: Sorry, not ready for the feels.

CM: BALLAD CHANGE. Where’s the nearest abandoned road with pouring rain and an old car with the water droplets cascading down my driver’s seat window?

ZS: I feel nothing. Why would I ever listen to this ballad when I can play Burn from Hamilton to myself.

NT: I’m prepared to cry. Update: no tears were shed.

“Sorry”

AB: Definitely sounds like rock music you would hear in a church.

CM: The intro is very Coldplay. It’s technically not awful, but I’m not feeling it. The previous ballad was the only slow song acceptable to this album, to be honest.

ZS: I’m still bored of these lyrics. You should be sorry.

NT: Not a fan of this one. I guess it makes sense with it following from the ballad thing, but no. I might send this to someone I burn, and then want to fake-apologize to.

“Choke”

AB: Why is this song called “Choke”? The title implies a song that is much more hardcore than this.

CM: “Eye of the Tiger” question mark? Crossed with the Macarena? What the fuck? Delete this.

ZS: If I ever get someone to choke me, I hope they aren’t this gentle about it. Commit.

NT: What is this? This song is going in eight different directions, and I’m not sure I like any of them.

“Call Me Up”

AB: I feel like this is trying to be too many things at the same time, and it isn’t succeeding at any of them.

CM: It’s kind of cute, honestly.

ZS: I actually really enjoyed how unique that intro was compared to everything else. I’m also a big sucker for that “na na na” lyricism.

NT: The intro had a cutesy piano music box feel, but the rest is meh.

“Hometown”

AB: It’s kind of chill I guess? Not sure if I would listen to it when I wasn’t being paid to, though.

CM: Why does everybody gotta romanticize hometowns? There’s a reason you’re not there anymore.

ZS: Aw, this is adorbs. I like the rhythm, too. It feels like it alternates a bit between a quicker sort of pace and something softer and it’s working here.

NT: So sweet and sappy. Who doesn’t like a good chemical fire?

“Castaway”

AB: “Castaway”? From where? And do I care? Is this the Titanic? If there wasn’t room for Leo on that door then there sure as hell isn’t room for you.

CM: Weakest link. Not great. Not trash. Frustratingly catchy, though.

ZS: This happened, I guess.

NT: Yuck. I’m sorry, this is not my thing at all.

“Riding the Wave”

AB: Do we know for sure that was a kazoo, and not a dying fly?

CM: Who brings a kazoo to band practice these days? I like the melody and the beat, but I cannot ignore the kazoo.

ZS: I fucking love kazoos.

NT: Kazoo intro! From there, it sounds like the other songs on this album, nothing offensive.

“I Was Lost”

AB: Are you sure you’re not still lost?

CM: Of Monsters and Men (OMAM), is that you? The first bit is a decent attempt at a style OMAM has pretty much perfected, but like, just listen to OMAM instead?

ZS: Alrighty, cool stuff.

NT: Ah yes, a depressing ending after all that up-beat stuff. So fitting. Oh, never mind, it got upbeat again.

OVERALL:

AB: None of the individual tracks really stood out to me, most of them sounded roughly the same. 10/10 would not listen to again.

CM: The album started stronger than it ended, and it was a decent one, all things considered. It was fun, despite some hiccups. The musicality was pretty well thought out. If you like indie pop, definitely give it a listen. If you don’t, find something else more your speed. Seven out of nine indie pop kangaroos.

ZS: Overall, I think that this album was cute but could have ditched like half of itself with no consequences.

NT: The songs tended to drag and blend into each other. There were some gems, but other than that, a pretty basic, easy to listen to album.