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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Tunes - The Truth, Justice and the Mancunian Way EP

Name: Tunes
Album: The Truth, Justice and the Mancunian Way Ep
Year: 1979
Style: Post Punk, New Wave
Similar Bands: Elvis Costello, Buzzcocks, Human Hands, XTC, Ned's Atomic Dustbin
One Word Review: Anxious Trilling
Based Out Of: Manchester, UK
Label: Rhesus Records

 The Truth, Justice and the Mancunian Way EP - Front, Record
The Truth, Justice and the Mancunian Way EP - Back, Record
The Truth, Justice and the Mancunian Way EP (1979)
  1. Larger than Life 3:52 {*}
  2. Headlights 4:42/ {*}
  3. My Time 3:06 {*}
  4. Last Orders Taken 2:05 {*}
Album Rating (1-10): 9.5

Members & Other Bands:
Ray Lowry - Artowrk
George Budd - Bass
Steve McGarry - Design
Bernard Nuttall - Drums
Kevin Cummins - Photography
Anne Webley - Piano, Organ
Andy MacPherson - Producer (The Who)
Colin Thorpe - Vox, Guitars
Chris Dixon - Management
Eryk Letherman - Managment
Ray Lowry - Front Cartoon

Unknown-ness: I've never heard of this band. But it has three things going for it: UK band, 1979, and new wave style int he band photos on the back. The cartoon on the front is a nice tongue in cheek nod to cover artwork, reminding me of XTC's Go2 in sentiment, but it does seem  a little, I don't know, soft. Not really sure if this will be good or bad, but potential is there.

Album Review: There is not much out there about this band. Apparently, according to Musicstacks & Discogs, they never had a full length, and only a 2-song single in 1980. It is superb, though. Nervous organ, taking inspiration from peers Elvis Costello and XTC. They are from Manchester, and must have been around the same time as The Factory / Factory Records, also in Manchester, began their popularity. Somewhat more popular band, the Donkeys were also on this label. The most famous thing about the band is its producer, Andy MacPherson, who mixed the Who’s famous Live at Leeds album, and then remixed it 45 years later.

“Larger than Life” begins with a Psycho Killer bass line. A buzzing organ synth and jangly guitar are added, along with nasally, watery vocals that sound like a mix of Andy Partridge (XTC) and John Penney (Ned’s Atomic Dustbin). The digital synth notes create an urgency dispersed by the relaxed guitar chords. There is a crystalized/toy piano instrumental breakdown that is a little off-kilter. It is a fun song, but lacks a strong drive.
“Headlights” starts with a staggered, stuttering drum and bass line. The organ synth comes in and smooths it out into a steady tempo. The synth notes bring the urgency a little, but the tempo is not that anxious. The melody glides along like its topic: Headlights in the sun. The breakdown brings a nice change, disjointed and angular: continually building and starting over. The music plateaus, returning to the initial melody. The song fades out with bass only.

“My Time” stomps into the track with a much more nervous and aggressive organ. This track is very early XTC-like. I’m reminded of the verse from This Is Pop. The chorus is very catchy and builds as it repeats. This is just a superb, neurotic song, also like the Human Hands. The instrumental section showcases XTC-similar grinding guitar, but the synth-organ is much more straightforward. It stops pretty suddenly as it sounds like it is going to take another turn for the chorus, with the word Time.
“Last Orders Taken” begins with organ notes being hung on, and twiddering synth trilling underneath. The driving pace of the song is fun, and the nasally vocals carry the tense energy as they skip along with the pace. These second two songs are a different band than the first two.

Really wish there was more of their stuff…I can’t imagine there are only 6 songs in existence. And I can’t believe that none of the musicians went on to do other projects.

Stand Out Track: My Time

Links:
Amazon
Rate Your Music
Musicstacks
Manchester District Music Archive
Discogs
MacPherson - Manchester News

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