Mark Shepherd’s latest album- ‘The Grand Scheme Of Things’ contains two versions of each tracks- electronic and acoustic- and his sound is melodic and atmospheric. He is clearly a talented guitarist, and one can see how he has become something of a veteran on the live circuit. There is a touch of Americana and blues about the guitar, reminiscent of other rock-songwriters such as Mark Knopfler, but ultimately the style is straight-forward, unadulterated rock.
His voice is distinctive and he has said that he is often compared to Paul Weller, which feels pretty on the nose, Mark Shepherd’s voice has the same gravel-tossed soulfulness of Weller’s later solo records. ‘Point of No Return’ shows him at his strongest vocally, displaying his full power, although ‘She Didn’t Answer’ also highlights his versatility, with a slightly more spoken-word vibe.
Lyrically speaking, Mark Shepherd’s song tend towards the darker side, exploring issues such as relationship breakdown and death, providing the perfect partner to his moody guitar. Although the feel of the album can be sombre at times, the style is confessional as opposed to depressing. Tracks like ‘The Grand Scheme Of Things’ offers a rare moment of perspective and respite from the cold and callous hand of life, reminding us while life can feel deterministic, our actions an still make a difference, if only on a small scale.
Overall, the album is one that stays with you for a long while after listening, a rare find in this age of disposable pop. Be sure to watch out for his release in 2019.