Author Archives: Colourhorizon

Hey Bulldog – No Future Part II

I was talking to Sequin World from Twitter before a Lucid Dream gig. So I said “yeah, ‘No Future Part II’ by Hey Bulldog is probably what New Order were intending on Movement”. 

“Steady on” said Sequin World, “I know you’re biased,  but come on”.

“I am biased”, I admitted, “but I love New Order too, and I genuinely think that the songs’ mix of motorik beat and stately glacial guitar solo’s are what New Order were probably aiming for when they made Movement. That’s not to say Hey Bulldog are better than New Order, but Hey Bulldog are incorporating sounds into their traditional rammalamma and nailed it first time, it’s very exciting that the band has taken their approach to mind-freeing guitar solo’s and mastery of technique and gone in a fresh, new direction. It also shows off that as a group of musicians they’re the best around. Moreover, production is tip top, Rob’s vocals have never sounded better. Anyways, I’m going to get a good spot for The Lucid Dream…”

‘No Future Part II’ is a masterpiece and available to buy here.

You can follow Sequin World on twitter here and for that matter, colourhorizon and Hey Bulldog too.

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The Lucid Dream live at Yes 09.02.2019

Up past the sun, way out in space, deep in your bones, boiling up in your guts are The Lucid Dream, not just the best band of the 21st century, but THE band of the 21st century, the defining union of climate and music and soul. Where head spinning, brain empowering strains of motorik, techno, noise and psych coalesce into a union of hedonism where fan and band become one, where the music made by four sweaty men possesses both them and the sweaty mass of bodies below, blurring the demarcation of where one ends and the other starts.

Like all the best dance music The Lucid Dream make immersion music for the body. And make no mistake despite all their pedals and noise-making trappings The Lucid Dream are resolutely dance music. Shedding any pretence of having short, snappy tunes, each monolithic slab is engineered for maximum pleasure; slave to the rhythm and a dictatorship of the groove.

Each time they play to a bigger room the audience grows; more disciples, more sweaty brethren.

The DIY ethos of the band means each fan is hard-earned and equally embraced. Whether it is your first time or your twentieth the buzz of excitement is the same; the call to arms and the relinquishing of control to the beat. 

From the huge, punishing ‘SX1000’ to the bouncing aggro-dub of ‘I’m A Star In My Own Right’ the setlist is carefully constructed and then banged out like shells from a howtizer. The starting and stopping of songs is only required for the taking on board of liquids; they could play one long seamless blend for 75 mins and kill everyone with music.

No more words required. Just music. And The Lucid Dream are here and they have it. Gorge yourself. They have the shit to take you up with them; up past the mother fucking sun.

The Lucid Dream’s latest album is available now. Buy it.

Eyewitness footage taken from up past the sun taken by a lunatic.

The Maitlands live at FC United

On Saturday The Maitlands opened for FC United. Unfortunately, not in the centre circle, which to be fair, everyone was all in favour of.

They played before the match vs Altrincham under one of the stands, between the cheap bar and the even cheaper bowls stuffed with steaming hot pie. It’s a long concrete tunnel with metal support struts that would have been perfect for a Joy Division gig.

FC United have struck a great concept: getting a local band before each game, enforcing their community minded ethos. Meanwhile for The Maitlands it was a great opportunity to show off their new EP, Bury The Hatchet. This idea has huge potential – combining grass roots football and grass roots music.

The Maitlands lie at a critical nexus point between The Ruts and Roxy Music. Musically fair wide, even if not alphabetically.

To elaborate further, their songs are generally powered by spiky, salty riffs as batted out by Ste Moran, who swipes his guitar with punk enthusiasm, dancing and singing along to the songs while he does it, like a young Steve Diggle he is, but probably on less coke (I saw The Buzcocks at The Apollo once and he was beyond Venus).

The other Ste, Ackley (noted for his lush pink telecaster) builds on this punk basis and adds textures and rhythms, without bringing The Maitlands close to a psych shoegaze mire. 

When these two guitars interact it takes a song in two directions, but this split works and the songs are allowed to inhabit a fascinating hinterland.

This is especially evident on ‘Kisses For The Masses’ which most typifies this Roxy Music parallel. A shockingly classy song layered around chiming guitars that doesn’t fit the concrete bunker they’re playing in, but the strength of the melody makes it work no matter what the setting.

Saul, the drummer, is quietly impressive, skillful without showboating and make full use of his kit. He’s very Paul Thompson, so again, the Roxy Music link holds strong.

Matt on bass was left a little low in the mix but as always thrusts The Maitlands along on a purring little motor.

And Carl, the looming front man? Buoyed by his band and the confidence he has in them, is taking the art of singing pop songs in several unexpected directions. The songs are riff based and catchy which allows him the leeway to slip around in the songs like an eel in a tumble dryer.

His song construction interests me as their new EP shows he is favouring a style which, while not eschewing chorus’, instead chops the chorus’ up and places them at various points of the song. ‘Dangerously Sober’, with which they opened the set is a great example of how he takes a set of phrases such as “oh Jim we’re back on the Columbian marching powder” and “don’t tell the Pope, let’s keep it as an inside joke” and turns them into mini choruses firing through the first half of the song. Then the song stops and starts again with some a new set witticisms, re-emerging from a fog of “vaporised nicotine” like the hero of the song. ‘Kisses For The Masses’ performs the same trick, and Carl starts the song as if we’re already in the final reel, structurally it’s very close to ‘Speedway’ by Morrissey.

These acts of lyrical deconstruction typify the Maitlands approach to combining a good time with breaking the rules. Because The Maitlands never forget that a band is their to give a crowd a good time, they start with the witty, punchy ‘Dangerously Sober’ and their most pop-centred tune ‘She’s A Ghost’ leaving the more experimental ‘Daunting In Derker’ til the back-end til when they have won people over with the riffs and words.

The “encore” is the oldie ‘Arrested Development’ which is the best I’ve ever seen it. Starting
with its elongated bass solo (there they go mucking about with the conventions again) it whips up an incredible live performance for before 3 in the afternoon, replete with Ste Ackley’s Johnny Thunders style pick scrapes. Carl’s vocal performance is intense, knowing every fibre of the song, the words flowing out and tripping into Ian Curtis style automatic language.

They leave to a hearty response and have won over a set of fans who had come to see a footy game (they lost), but The Maitlands won.

You can listen to and purchase Bury The Hatchet on their bandcamp page click here and follow them on facebook click here.

You can follow FC United on facebook click here and check out their website click here.

The Maitlands – Daunting From Derker (single)

Basically, ‘Daunting From Derker’ is a cut and shut.

It’s a one minute pop song bolted onto a 4 minute pre-amble. Oddly, on The Maitlands last single, ‘Kisses For The Masses’, I compared the song to Roxy Music’s ‘Mother Of Pearl’ due to the song’s glorious ringing rhythm guitar. Well, damn it, I’m going to compare this song to ‘Mother Of Pearl’ too because of being two entirely unrelated songs hooked together. This can only mean one thing, front man Carl Ingram is Oldham’s Bryan Ferry.

‘Daunting From Derker’ relates to a story in which our hero is trying to make it home to his haven of Derker* on Manchester’s banana-like trams. The song chugs along on linear guitar lines. The guitars start not unlike ‘500 Miles’, yes really, listen to it. Big echoey vocals and big echoey drums drive the songs onwards like a scratchy motorik. There are fleeting mentions of “Bury the hatchet”, apparently the title of bands next EP.

It has a sort of chorus but interestingly, the song sorta refuses to acknowledge it, leaving Carl shouting it while the band (Ste, Ste, Matt, Saul) does its own thing, giving the listener the feeling of a passenger whose bus driver has disregarded the place where said passenger wanted to alight, leaving the poor sod walking through an industrial estate in Monsall.

Then at 4.18 song number 2 starts, we make our connection to the high-speed service and sparks fly as the train glides from Piccadilly: “I left the music behind, let the story begin” sings Carl and now the band recognises the chorus and goes full throttle. As we head through a tunnel, when we come out it’ll be time for The Maitlands next single…

Tagline = The Proclaimers doing motorik.

Or, a cunning parody of psych by inverting the clicked motorik genre, as well as putting a  local Manc spin, to create a tram based alternative. So, they’re both ridiculing and reclaiming a genre.

*If you haven’t been to Derker, imagine a shit hole.

‘Daunting From Derker’ is available to buy for 69p from bandcamp:

https://themaitlands1.bandcamp.com/track/daunting-from-derker

The Maitlands – Kisses For The Masses

I sung your songs at school…

It’s heady spiralling music all the way with The Maitlands, the ever surprising bunch of ne’er-do-wells, who flit through musical styles like cans of cheap lager. Some of their songs are short, spiky and sarcastic, but this newest single ‘Kisses For The Masses’ is as lush as it is well-defined and well produced. It sees their Wire influences counteracted by *ponders*… The Associates believe it or not.

kisses

This is a big pop song, make no mistake about it, and despite their shaggy dog attitude and go-with-the-flow live shows, this is an ambitious rocket aimed at for glory. The ringing rhythm guitar gives the song a veneer of class then it has a moody, boisterous New Order bass and drums breakdown before coming back around for another blast.

The key to the success of ‘Kisses For The Masses”? You wanna play it again, and again.

https://themaitlands1.bandcamp.com/track/kisses-for-the-masses

Flange Circus – Abandoned Glow

Four hunched, crooked men in brown cloaks and hoods dwell in a cave deep under the post-apocalyptic ruins of Bu-Ri (some call it Bu-Ree). Be they sages? Be they magi? Be they muTANTS? No one knows for certain except they have strange powers that emanate from their bulging mind-sacks. What the inhabitants do know is that the four figures have read the ancient texts, listened to the decrepit parlophones. They know of the long dead visionaries. They stand in unison and their mind-sacks throb. They can make sounds which stream from their fingers in silvery viscous webs. They shape these sounds into music. The terrified survivors of Bu-Ri listen to the music in fear. Some dance, the brave ones at least. And so, from a hovel under Bu-Ri, comes Abandoned Glow. The four hunched, crooked figures respond as one to the name they have given to the gestalt that rises when their mind-sacks hum in harmony. They are Flange Circus.

Flange Circus’ music is the sound of long dead machinery, Kraftwerk’s dream debased. Their music is creepy spaces and scary realms. The Radiophonic Workshop’s dream realised. Yet they never forget that how dark the music is, the bass must travel forward, must explore and hit at the soul. Joy Division’s dream personified.

‘Great Division’, the single which opens their inaugural full length release, gorgeous striding lines of dance music. You can practically sniff the asphalt on this divine motorik groove.

 

Homunculus Gardens; radiation leaks on a bottom dwelling submarine.The found sounds and swipes of hot dank air take us into the realm of the experimental.*

‘In The Pestilent Folds Of Chub 909’ is the sound of Peter Davison’s Doctor Who at a 90s rave. The drums are 808 State but the keyboards are wibbly wobbly CSO.

Lord Of The Rings drums usher in ‘Moloch By The Sea’ and all sorts of RPG soundtrack fun. We’re by the sea, the village is tranquil, but the grand wizards approach! Grand, cacophonous and resplendent. Have you got your magic potions ready? We’re going all the way back to the SNES age!

‘Dehibernation’ is what Sisters Of Mercy sound like in my head, not on the CDs. Chunky lines of guitars throw big riffs while sneaky keyboards weave their magic.

‘Kwak’; Robert Mitchum stalks the dry scrub streets in Night Of The Hunter.

In the past I have commented that Flange Circus’ free wheeling approach to genres has hindered them by not leaving a distinct impression of who the band actually is. Here though, over the course of an album it actually works in their favour. Ten songs in the same vein would get monotonous, especially the gloomier ones, but flitting from style to style keeps the album fresh and the surprises coming. What holds Abandoned Glow together as an album is Flange Circus’ masterful knowledge, appreciation, reverence and capacity for the usage of sound. Very few bands master the art of knowing both how to soundtrack and how to groove. Flange Circus have that skill, and many more.

Abandoned Glow is available to buy right now and we highly advise you do so!

https://flangecircus.bandcamp.com

*The experimental is now the conventional and they are no chock stock things**

**This is a reference to a song by The Fall. This is essentially shit stirring as one member of Flange Circus loves The Fall and another hates them. Colourhorizon is the only review website that includes inter-band shit stirring.

IX – 6EQUJ5

With a name like IX and album entitled 6EQUJ5 that clocks in at two hours this isn’t a band aiming at being on Jools Holland at any point.

Instead of wanting intrusive boogie-woogie splattered all over their work, IX, with evocative titles such as ‘Fennyman’s Point’ and ‘Sub Level 5’ are more interesting in taking the listeners to faraway places.

6EQUJ5 is a rainy neon lit world fed through the visions of The Radiophonic Workshop (‘Incubation (Phase 1)’ and Blade Runner (‘Monad Theme Reprise’). This isn’t just a place of dank synth atmospherics though; life emerges in heady sweaty nightclubs where thumping Chemical Brothers dance music, itchy drum n bass antics, Talking Heads style rhythm guitars and much more shepherd you to ecstasy.

The title track almost reaches the beauty of the soundtrack to Manhunter, while ‘Black Pyramid (Part 2)’ oscillates around a Tangerine Dream ambient soundscape of splitting atoms, then it’s deep ambient all the way into the ketamine sucking second half.  And is that a melodica on ‘Dome 1’?

The pitch was the album is the soundtrack to a movie. It’s not, at 2 hours it’s longer than most good movies. This is the soundtrack to a city, and not even the city in Blade Runner, this is more like Futurama, in which multitudes of people live colourful, diverse lives. IX have created a truly sprawling world. And whilst Bandcamp is awash in music of this type, very little of it is either as ambitious as IX, or as immaculately conceived, realised and presented.

Like taking a trip through the night life of G-Police.

https://ixband.bandcamp.com/album/6equj5