Sometimes you canít believe that you can stumble
upon something so good. "Theyíre a new Manchester band, and
theyíve released their own promo cd," was my brief. "Well whoopy
whoop," I thought, and wondered how nice I should be about it.
You know, they're a new band and me being a gentleman and not
wanting to be rude and all that. I mean, I mightnít want to
be Mr. Vitriolic NME Hack, but the band name doesnít exactly
inspire confidence. With Longview and Longwave around, the last
thing anyone needs is another band with "Long" in
the name. In fact, one can only hope that sixties, white, soul
belter Long John Baldrey doesnít choose this moment in time
to ditch the nostalgia circuit and release some new material....
But then I heard The Longcut, and I did in fact think "whoopy
whoop," except this time without the sarcastic undertones. And
that's because this CD, made up of four numbers which, rather
pretentiously, I would term instrumental journeys rather than
songs, is what we in these parts call "the biz".
Opening with Transition, my first thoughts are that
we are in The Fall country, as the introductory feedback gives
way to singer/drummer Stuart doing a Mark E Smith-like rant.
But, the track soon goes off on a completely different tangent
as guitarist Lee engages in some John McGeoch-era Banshees guitar
work. Then, the band works its way into what sounds like Sonic
Youth in their more thrashy moments.
The Kiss Off follows and is initially an altogether
different, slower, quieter creature, with softly sung vocals
over a gently strummed guitar. It then wakes from its slumber
and builds up, via some piercing guitar and wailing vocals,
to a thundering climax of Mogwai proportions which demonstrates
that this beast isnít house trained just yet!
DVT, like Spires which follows, is an instrumental
piece. Like The Kiss Off, it builds from quieter beginnings.
However, this time, the different riffs of the guitarist and
the bassist play across each other. Then it builds to a combined
thrash which sounds like they are just trying to compete with
each other. And, all the while, the drummer tries to hammer
this thing of beauty into a wall.
Finally Spires arrives. Congratulations to the band
for leaving the best track till last, because Spires is, and
I donít use the word lightly, superb. Opening with Jonís doomy
bass riff that is reminiscent of Joy Division's mighty Day
of the Lords, things go off again on yet another instrumental
tangent. Once again Mogwai is brought to mind. Excellent stuff!
So, as you can see, I kind of like this EP. And, it would seem
that Iím not alone in rating these guys so highly, since rumour
has it they are about to sign a short-term deal with Badly Drawn
Boy label Twisted Nerve. Still, Iím not saying theyíre going
to sell a million or anything like that. After all, they are
a predominantly instrumental three piece with a drummer who
occasionally sings, and thereís not a flag-waving frontman shaking
those darn hips anywhere in sight. And I know that a promise
isnít always fulfilled, or Television would have made a decent
second album and Wreckless Eric would have been a bona fide
pop star. But on the strength of these four tracks, The Longcut
have more potential than just about any new band Iíve heard