Working For A Nuclear Free City
This is a promising debut from the Manchester quartet and it benefits greatly from its release on the always-worth-a-listen Melodic record label. Known better for complex glitch-pop electronica like that of Minotaur Shock or Lucky Pierre, Melodic have tirelessly strived to give us innovative and engaging music. Their artists have always been eclectic and so it's no surprise that a guitar band such as Working For A Nuclear Free City should attract their attention. The spirit of The Stone Roses lives on in these guys, but their use of electronics sets them apart from the 90's Manchester scene fusing The Longcut, Primal Scream and Ian Brown with a sound all their own.
The scene is set beautifully with the opening celestial grandeur of 'The 224th Day', which builds you up gloriously only to drop you suddenly into the dirty beats of 'Troubled Son'. The earth shaking bassline mixes ominously with the murky vocals that make this record so interesting. It is described as techno music played on guitars and from this opening display that description seems pretty apt. 'Dead Fingers Talking' has enough arrogant swagger to have been penned by Ian Brown himself and firmly reawakens rocks danceable side.
The band started off as an instrumental trio and only recruited vocalist Ed Hulme 2 days before their first live gig. This is the key to the success of their music. They have created a wonderfully sophisticated blend of dark, beat driven rock, washed out indie bliss and programmed electronic instrumentals that really aim for the stars. It's a very well paced album and the use of minimal, orchestral down time brings added weight to the moments of might. Once you have them pegged as Manchester's new Roses as in the astral psychedelia of 'Over', they blast you with sonic noise until you retract that comparison. 'Innocence' is 'Fools Gold' meets David Axelrod and breaks into the most shamelessly funky bass twang heard since Starsky and Hutch, while 'Forever' chugs along effortlessly on a bass heavy beat that gradually fades into the cinematic soundscape of the closing track 'The Tree'.
Having started Stone Roses and finished Philip Glass you really question what the hell you just listened to. This band set up comparisons only to dash them with a sound so refreshingly open minded that it's almost impossible to predict the way forward for them. Describing their mission with this debut they claim "We want to create an alternative to the retrospective trend in music, to get the focus back on something innovative." So as Kasabian are busy claiming rights to the musical throne they'd do well to keep an eye on the rear view mirror for the challenger speeding up behind them, more than capable of steeling their self appointed and somewhat imaginary crown.