The Shruggs – After the War (single review)

The Shruggs

The Shruggs are an “acoustic power duo” from Bandon in West Cork. Their music is rootsy folk and catchy sing-a-longs. Their debut single ‘Keep On Smiling’ was released in aid of 3TS, ‘Turn The Tide Of Suicide’, with music journalist Olaf Tyaransen from Hot Press and their recent track, ‘The Ooh Song’, proved a massive hit on Balcony TV. The band is made up of Kees Hendrickx on guitar and James Downing on the busker’s friend, the cajon.

‘After The War’ is the Shruggs third single. The accompanying video is a contemplative series of landscapes taken from the window of a train through Instagram filters with alternative lyrics appearing at the bottom of the screen. It’s an interesting concept that adds another dimension to the song.

As usual with the Shruggs, the harmonies are so tight, they sound like one voice. On top of the guitar and cajon, additional instrumentation rounds out the sound with horns and strings adding drones under the melody. The story of the song is a soldier longing for his love back home and the tune is reminiscent of a Paul McCartney song.

‘After The War’ has a different tonality and slower tempo to previous offerings from The Shruggs and it seems an atypical choice for a single. One can imagine The Shruggs putting on an impressive live display but on record, robbed of the visual, visceral aspect, ‘After The War’ is a pleasant but forgettable distraction.