Introducing a sensational debut solo record, from the frontman of indie-scene veterans The Silver Bayonets, Scared New World proves a stunning collection of contemplative yet energising rock anthems. A ten-track collection that works its magic consistently when listened to at volume, consider this your driving album for the colder months ahead.
Featuring a handful of indie pioneers helping bring the project to life, including producer Dave Draper and drummer Jason Bowld, Scared New World leads with Kabir Sheikh’s unmistakable vocals, and proceeds to inject a fresh rock sound all of its own; for a likable twist on the familiar.
The voice seems to be really well-balanced throughout the album, not least of all for the anthemic yet thoughtful moments found within an energetic and awakening Alien. It’s a fiercely addictive, colourful and memorable opener, and tackles the topic of being a second-generation immigrant with a brilliant fusion of passion, vulnerability, and outright arena-rock presence.
The personal touches make much of this project connect in a beautifully authentic and fearless manner. Alongside this we get politics, life, death and human rights – all playing a role in building up the bright-tones and darker inevitabilities of Scared New World,
Sleepwalking follows and it’s clear we’re into something special with this project. The sound is recognisable, for sure, but the mix, the solos, the openness of the writing and the melodies, all seems to strike a perfect kind of chemistry in this new setting. The big rock albums of the noughties come to mind, timeless writing with a superb fusion of talent and passion to really illuminate it.
Doesn’t Everyone? is gorgeous, chaotic and gritty yet also gentle and heart-wrenching as it progresses through moments of softness and contrasting intensity; always resolving beautifully for that chorus question. An immensely moving track, and a personal highlight.
For Impatient we hear a vocal and sonic shift to an eighties vibe, with Andy Delany at the forefront, as things build and rise and envelop the listener. Then the dreamy and aptly descending guitar layers of a reverb-kissed Shadows Descending are quick to extend warmth and uplift listeners, promising painful honesty and euphoric musicianship combined.
The Outside takes on a short-lined pop-punk verse format as it builds up to the explosive longing of a hook that ultimately calls out to any and all misfits in the modern world. And just as every weighty rock album needs, Combined (A Better Day) falls into view at the right moment – a stripped-back instance of calm before the rising anticipation grips and gathers immersive momentum, for an easy, all-together-now hook.
We then get a touch of Foo Fighters influence for When Tomorrow Comes, a track that’s both uncertain of the future yet loaded with excitement and acceptance about it regardless; with an unexpected synth solo for the middle-8.
Afterwards, Twenties brings a familiar indie-rock roar yet builds up slowly to become the perfect album name-drop, right before the reflective and provocative tones and inclusivity of Still Broken gears up for a vastly poetic and powerful finish.
A longtime songwriter and renowned indie veteran of the London live scene, Kabir Sheikh takes the new world by storm with this release. Songs of pain sung with joy and devotion to the moment. An inspiring release, boldly personal yet broadly accessible, offering some of the very best tracks and performances of his career.
Scared New World is Kabir’s masterpiece – faultlessly produced, and undoubtedly one to hold on to and revisit time and again.
Grab the album Scared New World via Bandcamp.