Sharp Practise | Steal With Pride

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Rock: 70's Rock Rock: Classic Rock Moods: Featuring Guitar
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Steal With Pride

by Sharp Practise

Melodic rock based on the sound of those credible 70's rock bands who had hit singles.
Genre: Rock: 70's Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Jog On
3:24 $0.99
2. Burnin' Blood
3:39 $0.99
3. Hard Heart
3:33 $0.99
4. Keep It Dark
3:42 $0.99
5. Fine Line
3:39 $0.99
6. Over to Caitlin's
3:59 $0.99
7. Good Speech
4:08 $0.99
8. Wish My Girlfriend Was a Vampire
3:16 $0.99
9. Maybe (This Ain't Right)
5:14 $0.99
10. Justice
4:19 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
In an age of ever expanding musical genres and experimentation, Sharp Practise uphold the melodic rock style by trying to keep the song structure simple and accessible while still allowing room for something clever to happen. That might be a guitar solo or three like in Maybe (This Ain’t Right) or even a little vocal effect, like the blue note in the second verse of Hard Heart on the word “blues”.
We write about things that happen to or around us, things that we see on our travels, or what people say.
For instance, we were watching the news on tv after the riots and a young lad in a hoodie, whose mother was with him, was being interviewed. This old fella came up and starting taking issue with the hoodie, who was saying why he’d been involved in the riots. At which point the hoodie’s mum told the old fella to jog on, ‘cause he didn’t know what he was talking about. That sparked us off to write the song Jog On from the viewpoint of a lad who would riot.
Knowing that Jog On was the starting point of the Steal With Pride album we wanted to bring the story full circle in the last track. Justice is about social justice and was inspired by the Arab spring.
Telling a story in a lyric is very important to us – we’ve always listened to the stories writers like Phil Lynott, Bruce Springsteen and Neil Finn have told and wanted to make our lyrics capable of standing alone too.
For example we were having lunch one day in Liverpool when a boy of about eight years old saw a raunchily dressed girl in the street. He stood up to get a better view and watched her until she disappeared from sight (although what he would have done with her is anyone’s guess!). We tried to imagine how we’d feel if our girls dressed like that – she’d be on a Fine Line between being mine and wasting my time, and that started us on that song.
Sometimes the memory of a time of day gets our creative juices flowing. We can remember times when we’ve crashed at mate’s houses and we’ve listened to music in the dark while getting ready for sleep. So for Keep It Dark we wanted to capture the mood and sound of music coming at you through the darkness, and describe how music draws people together through shared references – for example, the language of blues music with all its hidden meanings is a code of its own.
We sometimes try to be more expansive and play around with light and shade, using song structure to accent points. For example, in Good Speech, there a number of separate sections, the song takes a breather in the middle section and the chorus grows as the song develops.
The attention that girls pay to the undead after Twilight prompted us to write Wish My Girlfriend Was A Vampire – we wanted to diss the theory that only girls abstain from acting on their sexual desires! But to balance things up, Over To Caitlin’s is a tale of requited love where the girl is very much in command of the situation and decides where and when the boy’s desires will be accommodated. And Burnin’ Blood is all about that feeling when you’re full of yourself but have nowhere in particular to go. We’ve tried to marry energetic music with a lyric about things that make your pulse pump.
So, for us, music has to say something in words, in sounds, in moods, in playing skill and provide for both the heart and the head.
Sharp Practise is self-sufficient musically. It has its own 24 track digital recording set-up, and plays all the instruments on its recordings. Although you can’t get analogue warmth, Sharp Practise feels this is more than compensated for by the flexibility which digital recording offers, particularly if you use the studio as an arranging tool. It’s much easier to add or subtract a verse or repeat a chorus that wasn’t there when the song was written or originally tracked if you have digital editing.
Sharp Practise takes the traditional approach to multi-track recording, starting with a basic track and then overdubbing each instrument in turn. Typically drums are first, and seven mics are used on the kit. These cover snare, hi-hat, bass drum, two overheads close to the kit and two more ambient mics to pick up the sound of the recording space.
Bass is typically DI’d and compressed to get a tightly controlled sound. Guitars are recorded with pedal effects on as the part is laid down, so that the player plays with a style and timing suited to the material and end sound. Guitars are usually double-tracked, and Sharp Practise is not afraid to use a number of guitar parts to add colour as well as making the obvious division between lead and rhythm parts. Yamaha electric and Morris acoustic guitars are used.
Unusually, vocals are usually recorded with reverb and other treatments straight to tape rather than leaving the choice of treatments until later. Experience has show that applying treatments straight away not only helps get the right vibe for the vocal but helps the overdubs sit right with what is the most important single part on any song, the lead vocal. Backing vocals are all performed by Nigel and built up layer by layer. Yamaha compressors and Alesis reverbs and multieffects are used on the vocals.
Keyboards are also typically DI’d and a range of Yamaha and Roland synths are used. Sharp Practise finds that preset sounds are usually pretty good and doesn’t often programme or edit new synth sounds.
When it comes to mixing, Sharp Practise likes to hear each sound in its own space and allow for space between the parts. We try to get a good spread across the stereo spectrum and from front to back so that listeners can hear the detail of what’s being played. Once the tracks are laid Sharp Practise will prepare a guide mix of the track and it at this point that Fran Ashcroft gets involved in the project. Sharp Practise usually writes about 25% more songs than are needed for an album and Fran will help in the choice of the final track listing for an album.
Fran is very good at offering ideas on additional parts (or indeed suggesting that a part already recorded doesn’t fit the song). He is brilliant at offering advice on what seem to be minor adjustments to eq or other sonic settings, or minor adjustments to the mix, often involving a change of only 1 or 2 db, that make huge improvements to the end result.
Sharp Practise still thinks in terms of an album (although not in terms of album sides) and therefore tries to develop material that has a mix of tempos, moods and sounds that ebb and flow over a number of songs. Once the right choice of songs has been made, and the sonics are right, Fran then masters the material in his own studio – this is the only time the album leaves Sharp Practise’s own set-up before duplication.



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