Your Bloodwork Came Back, It’s The Manimals

A good title goes a long way, especially when you’re cruising through the highways of same old-same old on bandcamp. Death metal bands with olde-English font text. Yeah yeah. Anything tagged ‘synthwave’ with a neon LA style cover. Yeah yeah. So when I saw a record called Your Bloodwork Came Back, It’s The Manimals, it made me smile enough to click.

Then I saw that band members had nicknames such as ‘The Bear’ and ‘The Dick’ and my enthusiasm waned again. Like when you were at school and some kid tried to introduce a new title for himself,  “yeah, whatever mate” you think, “tosser”.

So with mixed feeling I started playing the first track, ‘Cause Of Death’. I’m glad I did because it made me smile and made me roll my eyes in equal measure. They may tag themselves punk but they’re punky only in the same style as the kind of bands you’ll find on The Return Of The Living Dead soundtrack. They’re trashy and glammy and the guitar licks are probably accompanied by real licks down your neck. They remind us of The Cramps with the self-effacing wit of Wreckless Eric with a dash of classic 50s rock ‘n’ roll. As soon as Hayley Bowery starts singing you’re totally on board. Let’s make one thing clear, if the chorus below appeals to you, this band is for you:

You wanna be a superstar?
That cocaine heart won’t get you far
Another case of death by guitar
You gotta save your soul
It’s only rock ‘n’ roll
Woah-oh-oh, woah-oh-oh

By the end the entire band is singing along and everyone is having a boozy ol’ time.

‘Boys’ is waspy and as sharp as shark fins. Based around the gag of a girl rock ‘n’ roll singer singing “I wanna be the boy in a rock band” it’s the sound of a party you wanna be invited to.

‘Wild As You Wanna’ spews up with adrenaline guitars and riot inciting vocals. Then it all smears into one, like any good night out. Then, suitably, it all collapses, like falling into the bins and ending up under last nights pizza boxes.

Your bloodwork came back, it’s good news…

Heaven On Earth At The Halle 22.04.2017

Down at the Halle St Peters on Saturday, a deconsecrated church, afternoon mass was being held. Sermons with guitars and gospels with pedals. A congregation of spiritual brothers-in-arms in attendance and a selection of Manchester’s most heavenly bands. Colourhorizon is happy to produce the parish newsletter to report how a sunny days indoors offered enlightenment.

The first artist we saw was Hana (Hannah Nicholson), resplendent in pink. Putting the dream back in dreampop, backed by sporadic Vini Reilly-ish guitar, tender keys and even more sporadic drums, this is more of a showcase for ornate vocals. Most impressive is when she lets the high notes float and you know you’re watching a magnificent singer. One song was called ‘Jasmine’ which seems a perfect title for songs as delicate as this.

The Maitlands follow in the grand tradition of Mancunian pop that stretches back to the Buzzcocks and beyond. They’re bright, witty and fizzy. Playing an essentially best-of set list that showcased their recent Salford Democracy EP they rattled through their time with energy in abundance. It is easy to be won over by the simple charms of The Maitlands; their songs are uncomplicated and highlight the sheer thrill of a guitar riff, some smart words and enervating drumming. Moreover, frontman Carl always gets people laughing in-between the songs. Here he was musing about the heights of the previous band from the length of the mic cable and asking the thermostat to be turned down to 18 degrees. Due to some sound issues he was experimenting with two microphones, which won’t help the Mark E Smith comparisons, but in truth he’s closer to Alternative TV’s Mark Perry. The band later reported sound issues from stage but from the audience side is sounded sharp and crisp, with plenty of space for all the instruments. The cheeky cowbell number ‘A Few Choice Words’ continues to be a highlight.  It’s pretty impossible to dislike The Maitlands.

The Creature Comfort are full-bodied, full-blooded rock ‘n’ roll. It’s the kind of two guitar attack that is best associated with the pirate swagger of Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers but when frontman Ben takes to the stage the comparisons always veer towards Iggy Pop. Ben is a whirling maniac on stage; flailing and falling, crooning and careering, shrieking and shaking. He loves leaving the stage and at one point sits with down to sing to some children, thus influencing the next generation of stars. His band are tighter than two coats of paints and they ripped through a headshot of songs like controlled explosions. Creature Comfort need to be seen to be believed. Consider yourself cleansed on the altar of rock ‘n’ roll.

Headlining the afternoon mass were the mighty Hey Bulldog. I’ve seen the Hendrix fuelled Psych-Blues boogie outfit a few times now but here they were transcendent. A power trio for the new age, they tore through a breathtakingly fluid set, with sky-high guitar offset by a magnificently supple rhythm section. Playing a bigger room clearly suits Hey Bulldog well, with space for those dynamite riffs to ring. The highlight of the set was probably ‘Under My Spell’ in which guitar slinger Rob blasts a riff that is the equivalent of an 8 year olds’ drawing of a fire spewing drag racer.  With a set that seemed to pass by in seconds, the crowd was left stunned and begging for more.

You are all absolved. Another cucumber sandwich, vicar?

The Last Bee On Earth – Prologue EP

Mike Bee is a guitarist known for his firework displays with the Stratocaster, powering up such bands as The 66, The Phoenix Experiment and Purple Heart Parade. The time has come through for Mike to fly solo. Wearing the persona of The Last Bee On Earth, he finds a voice and matches it with a broad musical palette. He may be known for his guitar work but his debut solo EP runs an elegant gamut compassing psych, folk and electro. The songs are mellow and thoughtful, a little trippy, and distinctly shamanic.

This is a mystical piece highlighting The Last Bee’s ecological and spiritual concerns; a Prologue detailing the beginnings of The Last Bee’s journeys. A full album is expected later in the year, leading to the question of a whether it will resemble a full-blown Ziggy Stardust style concept album.

The cover sums up the conceit: a man halfway between the stars and the earth. A mind looking up, a body pulling down. Seeking escape and enlightenment with no safety net except a decaying world concealed by pastel clouds.

‘Mossed In Space’ is a psychedelic chill out piece, perfect for hazy festival afternoons. This a pellet down the gullet; stripping away our realities like melting plasticine so we can see the world as The Bee sees. ‘Mossed In Space’ is a palette cleanser, freeing us and leaving us susceptible, ready and primed. From a distortion storm a shining guitar emerges, grasping dramatic traction . A sky peaking melody dazzles. Then the whole thing settles into a Bunnymen-ish groove with a wordless chorus straight from Bowie’s Low. As a mood setter it’s far too short.

‘5AM’ is a rinky-dink segue of ambient sparkles and in itself a fine example of sun-rise synth.

The real star of Prologue is ‘World On Fire’, a sweeping ballad for a world consuming itself. The Last Bee knows that squabbling on an island is pointless when the planet is going under, and maps out an epic, lush song to catalogue the destruction. A song stamped with pure quality that marks the emergence of a high-grade solo artist. Mixing up a piano march, crisp drums, a crooning, cracked vocal performance and the strings…. the strings…

In ‘The Concept Of Alan Watts (432hz)’ The Last Bee has sampled one of the philosopher’s lecturers and supplied a musical garnish for the nourishing brain food.

Without meaning to render this review redundant, you’d best just listen to it:

The Last Bee is here. Heed his words.

Links & Biz

Stockport Shaken by Earthquake

The denizens of Stockport were left shaken on Friday night following a freak earthquake in the town. The tremor was described as a “bass heavy rumble” that shook window panes in their frames and dislodged chimneys.

Professor Tim Flangerhanger from The Institute Of Shaky Ground stated in a press release:

“The quake was recorded on the evening of the 23rd March 2017 in the vicinity of The Seven Miles Out venue. We’re not entirely sure what caused this bizarre phenomena but it sounded heavy and full of dread, man”

As to the source of the incident, rumours are now circulating about the presence of space-rock leviathans Dead Sea Apes, who were reportedly active in the area. This band, known for their bleak soundscapes that you can nod your head to, are a prolific band with a new album entitled The Sixth Side Of The Pentagon, featuring guest vocal performances from artist and writer Adam Stone. The new album sees Dead Sea Apes focusing on a new dub orientated angle. Also, the climax of the earthquake reportedly resembled fan favourite ‘Wolf Of The Bees’.

Jim, a Schnauzer, owned by a Mr Savage of Dead Sea Apes confirmed that he was not taken for walkies on Friday night and his owner was seen leaving the house with “all his pedals”.

It would appear that the mystery may be solved…

Radar Men From The Moon – Subversive II: Splendour Of The Wicked

If you like your space rock to sound like a smelting press then Radar Men From The Moon are for you. This Dutch instrumental outfit make music so hard and unmovable it takes you all the way past dance music into sheer fucking endless repetition.

Subversive II starts innocuously enough, and innocently enough, with ambient swaths coursing through ‘You filled the house with merciless sand’ that test the listeners’ patience. Fortunately this turns out to be a palate cleanser for the sheer rhythmic blitzkrieg that Radar Men From The Moon are about to unleash… When the groove hits at 3 minutes 24 seconds you’d better batten down the hatches…

‘Splendour Of The Wicked’ is brutal in its monotonous hammering. After a while the instruments don’t even sound like instruments; the drums an underground clamour, the bass a tick-tock metronome of plant machinery. It’s wearying, but in a way which becomes fascinating. You start off dancing to it then after a while you can’t remember how or why you started, it feels like you’ve clocked on for a shift. This is surely the purest form of trance music, you have no idea how long ago this song started and no idea when it will end.

The tracks around it don’t offer much relief, ‘Masked Disobedience’ has synths running amok, while an ogre repeatedly bangs it’s fucking head against the pipeworks.

‘Rapture’ matches morse code rhythm to funky drums and mysterious keys. Yet again you’ll find yourself attempting to redefine dance music. Lou Reed threatened metal machine music. Radar Men From The Moon nailed it.

‘Translucent Concrete’ ends the album with a helicopter going to a rave. <No more description needed>

Radar Men From The Moon just reinvented dance music.

Control Of The Going live at Gullivers 04.03.2017

Cowboy Liam is dead. You remember Cowboy Liam – long hair and huge hat? Well he’s gone. I don’t know what happened to him, maybe an industrial thresher accident. In his place though is Rock ‘n’ Roll Liam – short chopped hair and a James Dean wardrobe.


Under the auspices of Cowboy Liam the songs were languid and slippery, with space enough to let the poetry shine through. The arrival of Rock ‘n’ Roll Liam reflects that the music is faster and vivacious now. The band is paradoxically getting tighter at getting looser. The dreamy, hazy days are gone, party days are here!

The songs are punchier, helped when Tom’s backing vocals give reinforcements to the chorus’. The second song of the night, ‘Family’ is a rollicking affair, reminiscent of the Happy Mondays cooking up a shindig. To underpin this, Tom’s bass is finally creeping up in the mix. And serving to underscore the new brightly coloured Control Of The Going was the radioactive din of Minesh’s shirt.

To highlight the contrast between old and new, the older, ornate ‘Wildflower’ looks out-of-place among the new furniture, the elegant seeming staid.

The gig was to celebrate the launch of the new single ‘She’ which typifies their new approach: fast music and hairpin vocals all the way. It was performed with the hearty gusto of a band in the ascendancy. Another new track, ‘War Crimes’ was launched as a fizzing shot across the bows. Ending the set was the frisky, affirmative ‘Star’, replete with singalong chorus. I can see this being a highlight of the forthcoming album.

The hi-tempo version of Control OF The Going whipped up a great atmosphere in Gullivers, to the extent that they were cajoled into their first ever encore, in which they chose to play ‘She’ again. This second performance was a real barnstormer, led by Matt’s mighty drumming and a speedy breakneck finish.

It all ended with Rock ‘n’ Roll Liam covered in sweat. Cowboy Liam didn’t work up a sweat.

Control Of The Going’s sweaty new single is available now…


No Mightier Creatures – S/T

Glass eyed, nervous blues all the way from Lima in the form of No Mightier Creatures.

They’re blues-y but they’re closer to the frustrated aggravation of Grinderman than the boogie jams of The Black Keys, but more than anything they sound like a stuttering bunch of machines; cold and inured by the terrible fucking world around them. This is an angry band, and we need angry bands at the moment.

Renato Gomez sing/speaks with a declamatory tone, reacting against the tradition of most blues singing, rather reminiscent of Robert Kidney from The Numbers Band.


The album starts off with ‘Yet We Divide’ which is comparatively jolly compared to what comes later.

“Little time to wake up / little time to grow” serves as a stark indictment of US politics.

The highlight of their self titled album is the middle section which is bracing and vicious:

The Lou Reed drawl and track-mark guitar of ‘Springfield’ is a scabrous alternate reality take on the New York grouch-bag’s post Velvets career. ‘No Light’ hammers staccato, pure Gang Of Four scratch with a Sonic Youth fuel injection.

‘Mulitply’ and ‘Corporate Dream’ are slow, weary grunts; fairground rides with empty seats.

‘To Cross’ merges Stooges slum riffs with soapbox spiel.

‘Colours fade / Genders fade / Bodies fade’

‘Take It Easy’ round off the album with the most blues-ish number, twangs and tension, empty space left.

Favouring rhythm over posturing is what makes No Mightier Creatures a stirring prospect, eschewing soloing in favour of tense dynamics. Sure, we all enjoy some guitar heroics from time to time, but it’s good to hear a blues band roll up the sleeves and hunker down.

“Reignite, spread your word”