2. Troubled Son
3. Dead Fingers Talking
4. Pixelated Birds
5. Quiet Place
6. The Tape
14. The Tree
Working for a Nuclear Free City – Working for a Nuclear Free City
Epic, intelligent, melodic, atmospheric – this is the sound of Working For A Nuclear Free City. This eponymous debut album is the sound of techno music played on guitars and maybe it’s like nothing else you’ll hear this year.
Descendents of Berlin-trilogy era Bowie and informed by David Axelrod, Working For A Nuclear Free City represent the best of Manchester’s experimental underground.
The band’s origins are in Cheshire, with brothers Phil and Jon Kay and schoolfriend Gary McLure. Beginning as a studio project, they made instrumental soundscapes until the addition of Ed Hulme, who joined two days before the band’s first gig. “We have always intended to have vocals on the tracks, but there just wasn’t anyone to do it,” says Phil. “I knew Ed could sing so we started recording his vocals on the tracks and at the same time got more confident with my own voice. I still think instrumental tracks are important though. Sometimes it just doesn’t need words.”
The band – now aged between 24 and 27 – took their name from a sign they saw in Manchester. “We are not tree hugging hippies,” says Gary. “We liked the name because of the irony and the related conspiracy theories of secret bunkers hidden around Manchester. The signs have now changed to City of Peace, presumably so that the council can’t be done for false advertising.”
Establishing themselves on the live scene, Working For A Nuclear Free City emerged as one of the city’s most exciting and mysterious bands. They also became known for their remixes, with credits for The Rakes, Polytechnic, Shitdisco, Archie Bronson Outfit, The Whip and Starsailor among others.
There are many highlights. Troubled Son couples an apocalyptic bassline with clanging industrial effects and an eerie, echoed vocal. Dead Fingers Walking is the kind of song a certain Mr Brown wishes he could write more frequently. England’s rainy day psychedelia is sublime while Over’s adrenaline fuelled climax demands attention. So transforms itself from a fingerpicked acoustic track to a dance track via a sonic boom chorus while Home has a distinctly bedroom-y feel about it. By the time you get to the string-laden strangeness of closing track The Tree, one thing is clear: this it’s an astonishingly eclectic selection. “We write quite fast, and our influences change from one day to the next,” says drummer Jon. “The songs were written and recorded in loads of different places. Each place had it’s own different influence on us.”
As for the future, their plans are simple but vast. “We want to create an alternative to the current retrospective trend in music, to get the focus back on creating something innovative,” says Phil. “We want to create a piece of work that will stand the test of time and be remembered.”
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