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Melodic Records

Working for a Nuclear Free City – Businessmen and Ghosts

Working for a Nuclear Free City – Businessmen and Ghosts

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Shortlist Music Prize Finalist Nomination 2007 – Shortlist Music Prize (USA)

‘..their playful-yet-riotously serious mix of psychedelia, Krautrock and electronica does sound Strange – deliciously so.’ NME

Contrary to what their name might suggest, Working For A Nuclear Free City are not “a bunch of tree hugging hippies.” One play of this, their debut double album, should confirm it. This is the sound of techno music played on guitars, a band whose range varies from acoustic tenderness to full-on, apocalyptic sonic booms.

Based in Manchester – once the location of the sign that inspired the band’s name – the band have been operating under the radar on home turf for the past few years. Over in the States, meanwhile, news of the band has been spreading like fallout from an H-bomb. They’ve been playing to packed houses coast to coast and winning plaudits from practically every magazine, taste-making radio station and blog. They were nominated for 2007s Shortlist Prize (America’s Mercury Music Prize equivalent) alongside M.I.A., Feist, Wilco and Arcade Fire.

“The whole US tour blurs into one tired grey mass of alcoholic anxiety and Wendy’s dog meat,” says recently returned guitarist Gary McClure, who abused his body on tour so much he was rushed to hospital in Texas and left minus three feet of intestines. “We swore we’d never go back, but now we can’t wait to get over there again.”

To allow British audiences to catch up, Melodic are releasing this astonishing double album, a bold entry point for a big band. It takes beats, psychedelia, Krautrock and indie, and blends them into one prolonged sonic assault, with lyrics that rail against crime, religion and – in Get A Fucking Haircut – other bands. The album’s title, Businessmen And Ghosts, is said to represent the dichotomy of the material on the album. “The businessmen are the unit shifters,” says Kay. “The ghosts are the bonus material, which could have been forgotten about forever.”

Working For A Nuclear Free City’s origins are in Cheshire, where the band formed around brothers Phil and Jon Kay and schoolfriend Gary McLure. Ed Hulme joined two days before the band’s first gig, cementing an unconventional line-up that doesn’t always have a singer. “Sometimes it just doesn’t need words,” says Phil.

Establishing themselves on Manchester’s live scene, Working For A Nuclear Free City emerged as one of the city’s most exciting and mysterious bands, before disappearing to chase the American dream. They also became known for their remixes, with credits for The Rakes, Polytechnic, Shitdisco, Archie Bronson Outfit, The Whip and Starsailor among others.

As for the future, the band’s 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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