Over twenty years ago, Carl Mann and Simon ‘Syd’ Oxlee signed their first record deal as the group Westpier; however, the band dissolved (as many great bands do) and each went their own way. Carl found himself touring Australia, performing with Kylie Minogue and even co-writing a B-Side for Kylie. After some time, Carl headed back to the UK with music on his mind. He reunited with old friends Phil Elphee, Martin Corder and Syd Oxlee to form the insatiable The Shop Window. Now, that’s a rather simplified version of the foursome’s history, but we’re not here to talk about how they came about. We are here to talk about the present including their new song ‘Out of Reach’.
Following several well-received singles in 2020, The Shop Window begins 2021 with a bang in the form of ‘Out of Reach’. As with many of their tracks, ‘Out of Reach’ sees a leaning toward Depeche Mode with elements of The Beatles; however, despite the comparisons, The Shop Window retains a distinctive and innovative sound. Combining cheery jangle-pop guitars with a steady drumline, the single has a buoyancy that will have you tapping your toe for the whole three minutes.
With an upbeat and lively melody, ‘Out of Reach’ can place you on a bit of a high, but there is a deeper meaning behind the spirited surface. Reflective in nature, the single reviews 2020 and the emotions felt by almost everyone during this uncertain period. As mentioned by Carl Mann, “nature pushed the pause button on our million-mile-an-hour lives. ‘Out of Reach’ is about those moments when you’re trapped in a bubble, lying in bed staring at the ceiling trying to figure out what you really want whilst the real world rumbles along somewhere outside.” In this, the lyricism has a deeper significance, but it is the harmonic melody that showcases The Shop Window’s innovativeness.
Definitely charming and easy on the ear, the vocals are boisterous and happy adding robustness to ‘Out of Reach’. Yet, while there is a cheery tone to the song, the vocals also have a haunting quality underlying the poignancy of the track. Honest, hopeful and optimistic in its introspective nature, ‘Out of Reach’ hits that “epiphany moment…realising that everything we really need we may already have.”