I Don’t Know
I Don’t Know is available at:
The album False Advertising is available from 4th September, 2015
TODAY marks a breakaway from two distinct areas of music.
Having been entrenched in Mancunian music (for the past few days), I am straying away from the area- ending with the mighty False Advertising. In addition, I am looking towards female-led/male-only solo work: sounds that bubble and percolate; have electronic themes and sparkling upbeat- coming off of band-made heaviness/Indie-ness. Within this valedictorian (well, sort of) speech, I am going to be focusing on an up-and-coming band- one that has entered the scene at just the right scene. Portraying Fuzz-Pop/Grunge hybrids, the Manchester trio is striking indeed. I shall come to them soon, yet I have been compelled by a number of things. In the next few days I am going to be writing to our Prime Minister: provide a supplication; a plea to make change; through the conduit of charity and business-linking- so that we can help eradicate (needless) issues- societal blemishes that should not exist. I shan’t divulge the details- mainly because I’m not sure what they are yet- but one of my ‘hot topic’ concerns is within music- not something I will pitch to the P.M. directly. In new music, there is such a needless lack of support and finance. Big businesses and companies- who defecate money like it’s going out of fashion- have cash going spare; more than they know what to do with- it seems like a great opportunity is being missed. One of the most frequent things I hear- pertaining to new musicians and their struggle- is how hard it is to sustain: make their music and keep laying down sounds. The expense and hardships of making music take their toll: there needs to be more money available for great acts. Google and Apple; Microsoft and Amazon: here are organisations that have pennies to waste; plenty of finance available- money that can be better used to help fund the arts. By having more money available; making sure great musicians are helped out- the music world can become more vibrant and anxiety-free. In terms of reciprocity, it would be easy to solve: bands and acts (that receive money) could have adverts running- on their band pages/videos- for said companies; nothing too intrusive. I don’t know, really- it just seems like there are things that can be done. My point is that certain band come to my attention by mere chance- either they will follow me (on Twitter) or I hear of them from someone else- rarely does the mainstream media dedicate too much attention to great new music (away from the mainstream). False Advertising are one such band (that deserves a bigger leg-up and coverage) and- before I continue with my point- let me introduce them to you:
“Sitting somewhere between Pixies, The Primitives and Yuck – False Advertising is a slab of loud but highly melodic fuzz delivered by a trio with no fixed front-person, with Jen Hingley and Chris Warr fronting the band and drumming alternately. Backed up on bass by Josh Sellers, their nostalgic influences result in a sound which is sludgy, yet radio-friendly and approachable.
False Advertising have self recorded and produced their debut album with plans for its upcoming release to be revealed soon.”
The band is simply Jen, Chris and Josh: a talented trio that are among the most bracing and interesting new bands around. Having spent a lot of time reviewing London bands- from the likes of Los and the Deadlines to Ivy & Gold- it is good to be in Manchester- a city that is challenging the capital for sheer quality and diversity. The band release their debut album on September 4th (it is self-titled); it will be a big leap for the band- who up until now, have not released anything fully-fledged. At present, the band has released a couple of songs: I was keen to feature I Don’t Know, ahead of the album release. The trio has been planning for ages now: the album has been gestating for a long time; in the process of being made- until now, it has been hard-fought and speculated. The band is excited about its imminent release: with promises of dissonance, sweetness and Grunge-influenced hooks- from ‘90s masterstrokes to modern-day strike- it promises to be a wonderful affair. Before I get down to reviewing, it is worth commenting on a couple of things. The genres of Grunge and Fuzz-Pop (in a way, a baby sister of Grunge) are not that often featured (in the mainstream press). With the likes of Wolf Alice coming through- and Hard-Rock acts like Royal Blood inspiring legions of new acts- False Adverting is quite a band. Soon it will be in vogue and wide-spread; for now, the genres are somewhat under-represented. There is a lot of Electro.-Pop and Pop; tonnes of Indie and Rock- acts that inject a little Grunge into the mix should be celebrated. The likes of Allusondrugs- the Leeds-based band who are on a steep trajectory- are a great example: a young band that is rising through the ranks with little opposition. Since the Grunge heyday- when the likes of Nirvana, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam were in command- the trend has turned away from Grunge- towards something a little less heavy and fuzzy. If you know where to look; there are some great Grunge bands- putting the genre back into the spotlight. I hope False Advertising’s forthcoming album will see a sea-change: get the bygone genre back into focus; in the minds of the mainstream press- shake-up the pale and lipid band market.
The trio includes the likes of Yuck and Pixies as influences: there is a little of each in their music. When listening to I Don’t Know– and their track Wasted Away– I was reminded of each. There is a little bit of Yuck’s luster (in the music of False Advertising): in the same way Yuck (on their debut most glaringly) mixed oblique with direct; blended hypnotic and grinding (to great effect) – the Manchester trio do likewise. There are little shades of Pixies; that same mixture of soft-loud dynamics; the grimy and darker shades- the ability to turn a song on its head in the space of a few notes. To be fair, False Advertising has few sound-alike comparable: when listening to their music, I could not think of too many other acts. When it comes to Grunge- and bands that play in this field- you can always hear the influenced: it comes across quite glaringly and obviously. Not indebted to any other act, the Mancunians instead take the smallest of particles- a tiny bit from their heroes- and update the sound; filter it through their creative process- come up with something original and unique.
Ahead of their album release; I have been fascinated by I Don’t Know– one of their most direct and evocative tracks. Together with Wasted Away (also on SoundCloud) it is a chance for the public to hear the band- get a glimpse into their album’s potential/possibilities. I Don’t Know begins life with a wonderfully intriguing introduction. At first, we have a woozy and punch-drunk guitar sway; a passive-aggressive little undertone that soon erupts; as the snare kicks in the intro. kicks up a gear- and the song explodes into life. At this stage, there are little nods to the greats of Grunge/Indie/Alternative- Soundgarden and Nirvana; Alice in Chains and Smashing Pumpkins- all done in a very idiosyncratic and unique way. Within the first twenty seconds, the to move through the gears: the percussion slams and devours; the strings contort and bounce; the riffs crunch and drive- an exciting and head-spinning way into things. Before you become overwhelmed; you feel overcome by the weight of things, the band brings it down a notch. When our hero comes to the microphone (backed on vocals by Jen) the song gets underway- and the tale begins. It seems there are some woes and anxieties on the mind: the day is not going so well- our man can’t wait for it “to start again”. Amidst the strains of pain and aching bones, our man is looking for some solace and relief- whatever is causing the heartache; it is taking its toll. The first stages of the song are rife with tight musicianship and energetic performances: the entire band unite superbly and unleash an edgy and powerful proclamation. The only detraction I would have related to the vocal clarity and decipherability. They will forgive me for misunderstanding or misinterpreting the words; only it can be quite hard to pick them all up. Reverbed and echoed, the vocal loses some of its finesse and intelligibility- getting a little buried in the mix; being drowned-out by the music itself. Whilst it does cause some problems (with regards picking up the lyrics) it does at least sticking to a classic Grunge parameters: the rawness and vitality that echoes through cannot be understated; you are gripped by the song regardless of minor quibbles- it is both instantaneous and thought-provoking. The male/female vocal hybrid put me in mind of Pixies. Whilst our leads do not model themselves around Black Francis and Kim Deal, there is a little of that chemistry and formula: the way the vocal interlace and weave; the deployment and structure- I detected a little hint of early-career Pixies. Whether the two leads are putting themselves on opposing sides- one plays the female ‘villain’; the other the male ‘villain’- or they are in unison (against an unknown subject) I am not sure. It seems a relationship/friendship has broken down; being dragged along with snideness and tense emotions. Whoever our man is rallying against, it (seems he must) descend to (her) level- his ‘counterpart’ is being rather immature and cutting; causing upset and pain- “Your jokes are mean” so it is told. Having been a long-time fan of Universal Thee- a Scottish Indie/Grunge act influenced by Pavement and Pixies- they too have the same boy-girl vocal byplay; that way with words and great delivery- I wonder if False Advertising would play with them one day? It seems there is no détente or impasse- our man is being taken out and pummeled- whatever the circumstances behind the drama. Whatever he gives (our lead); there is no sense of thankfulness and satisfaction- it is never enough. Backed by his band cohort, I was lifted by the naturalness of the vocals: there is a sense of togetherness and intuition; each member has great respect for the other; the way the voices seamlessly entwine is superb. It is (the band’s) deployment that is highly effective. Syncopated one moment; punctuated the next, lyrics are not lazily slung and delivered with the least imaginative sense of urgency. Some words run into the next; the lines are presented with pizazz and passion; contemplation and consideration- making the song more effective and stunning. Aside from a little bit of lost translation (when the vocals are at their most fuzzed-out and distorted) it actually adds to the effect- that unwavering sense of pressure and anger. Seemingly losing his touch, our man is casting his mind around- searching for answers in the sea of confusion- and seeking a safe resting place. Before you get too entrenched in the story development- the same way the introduction catches you by the brain- you are given a breather. Combining their instruments, the trio unveils a cheeky and spaced-out riff: something quite swaggering and hazy; a little lost and crawling- a drunken tip-toe that highlights the song title. With our leads combining in voice, they augment that sense of loss and confusion- the listener begins to wonder what the outcome will be; whether any sort of resolution will be discovered. When the band become more minimal and quiet- away from the rabble and pace of the verses- you hear a new side to them- how effective they are as musicians and composers. The chorus itself is a stand-out mutating beast: at first it is teasing and spiraling- variegated and elastic- before becoming more primal and crepuscular- transforming into a hairy, drooling beast. The strings add the colour and control: keeping the song level and grounded yet exhilarating and wild- I was impressed by the sound. False Advertising has a D.I.Y. and interchangeable work ethic. With Jen and Chris up front- there is no set lead vocalist; the trio rotate and pair-up in various formations- the drumming is handled by both Chris and Jen- again, there is no solo drummer. Josh provided bass work- which is particularly impressive and authoritative here- and that does not mean a detraction and cessation of quality and consistency. The drumming (throughout the track) is intense and brutal; flailing and monster-like- without becoming undisciplined and aimless. As the song progresses, you cannot escape that feeling of insecurity and unease: the protagonist(s) fighting against the tide; trying to find justice and compromise- never able to find what is needed. The production allows the band to really flourish: there are no embellishments and shine; the song is raw and honest; you can practically see the ribs showing- it is almost like you are hearing the song in a live setting. By the final notes you sit back and contemplate; try to get to grips with things- wonder if you have understood everything in the song. The band will have their own truth and interpretation, yet the listener will have their own ideals: it is a track that can be extrapolated and appreciated; we have all been in a similar scenario- so I Don’t Know seems tangible and realistic. With few drawbacks and detractions- apologies to the band if I have misunderstood any of the lyrics- the track is a fresh and bracing kick; a runaway donkey that is kicking fiercely- one of the trio’s tightest and most impressive performances. Not merely a one-off gem, it instead acts as a teaser (when the album comes out soon) – if you like this, you will surely love what False Advertising offers. I Don’t Know has nuance and layers; fuzzy and strung-out moments; vibrant and emotional swathes- a song that is dead-set to be a live favourite. If the band decide to come to London, this will be a song that’ll have me dancing- a true fist-pumping, voice-raising nugget; inspiring sweat and singalong, you cannot ask for any more.
False Advertising’s self-titled album is dropped in a few weeks- with its striking cover and eleven tracks of intrigue- and is something the band are very proud of. The trio produced, mixed and recorded the album themselves; without record label input the guys have put this all together themselves- few acts have such a work-rate and sense of ambition. I urge you to grab the album when it lands- it will be available on the likes of iTunes and Spotify- but go and listen to I Don’t Know– a great example of what to expect. The song shows the guys in hot and heavy voice: it is a mandate and shout-out to the masses; an example of what can happen when you focus and knuckle-down- the trio is among the most engaging acts of this year. As the year progresses- and after the album comes out- the band are touring Manchester (and stopping off in Leeds) – the north seems to be the ancestral home for the new wave of fuzzy/Grunge acts. What False Advertising has done is create something both timely and classic: they have lovingly touched on the ethos of ‘90s Grunge; updated it around their own voice- and modernised the genre. Too many bands get caught in the quagmire of expectation and playing it safe: on the one hand they make music to meet a market need; on the other, there seems to be little adventure and boldness on their sapling effort. Manchester’s bi-genre Grunge attack are no such slouches: they make music they want to make; the type of sounds the public need to hear- all done with a keen eye towards shaking things up; a debut album (this soon into a career) is impressive. As the guys say themselves, it has been a long time in the works: with limitations and (the drawbacks of self-producing an album) it has been a hard task- the hard work will all be worthwhile. Before I wrap things up- and you’ve come to expect a certain degree of loquaciousness from me with regards these things- I want to highlight two more points: localisation of bands; market trends. On the first point, a lot of new bands tour locally: it costs money to come farther afield; makes more sense to (first of all) woo the home crowds- unaware there is a demand elsewhere. I know there are financial limitations yet False Advertising would find patronage and venues down south- London especially would be able to house them proudly. Maybe they are being sensible to begin, but I would love to see the guys live- get them down this way and have their music shared (in the capital). I think a great deal of fledgling acts have to restrict themselves initially: when their album is unleashed, let’s hope they get their backsides down to us (in London). Lastly, the current market needs an overhaul: in the mainstream at least there is too much Indie music (still); too few genuinely exciting acts- the likes of Royal Blood and FKA twigs come by once in a blue moon. So much attention is paid to the existing, radio-featured acts, that a lot of tremendous music gets overlooked. Were the press to cast their eyes further afield- and see bands like False Advertising come through- they could get into the mainstream; inspire other acts- make it a much more vibrant and quality-focused arena. Oh well; for now I just have to appreciate what we have in front of us: if you have not heard this Mancunian trio, rectify this now. Their debut L.P. looks primed to be a firecracker of a thing: crammed with retro. Grunge moves; some very modern-day ideas- colour and vibrancy; emotion and reflection- that will see the 11-track release much-heralded. Ensure you buy the album when it comes out- as the trio have spent a lot of time and money producing it (and deserve recompense)- and check out I Don’t Know– a stunning song that shows just how strong (the band is). If the new music arena is to gain maximum respect; get some of its best to the mainstream, then there needs to be more support: music-lovers need to come together; get the U.K.’s finest into widespread consciousness- and utilize social media for all its worth. Some music fans are doing their best; many more need to do better- it only takes a few seconds to share music/acts across social media (Twitter and Facebook). With no excuses available, please give this eager three-piece some attention; gets their music trending- they are a future festival band that will be kicking arse. Ready-made for the dials and ears of the best radio stations- including XFM and Absolute Radio- the white-hot act leading a charge. False Advertising is an album you need to own- and one that should be promoted far and wide- as it shows a band doing things ethically and with a great ethos- produce it yourself and make sure your own direction dictates the sound. With so few bands- the new ones at least- doing things the same way; taking full control of their production, I am pleased False Advertising have taken this step. When all’s said and done it is…
SUCH a refreshing change.
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