New Midlands band channelling Madchester via the Thames Valley.
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The lineup: Frankie Mockett (guitar, vocals), Joel Sayers (guitar, vocals), Daniel Ondieki (bass), John Davies (drums).
The background: Michael A Grammar are like a Manchester band doing an impression of a Thames Valley one; a hybrid of baggy and shoegaze. That’s not as curdling a concoction as it might sound: both musics, after all, had as their goal bliss-out and sweet surrender. But it’s true: listening to tracks from their Vitamin Easy EP and forthcoming single the Day I Come Alive is like hearing what might have occurred had the Stone Roses decamped to Reading in 1991 for a stoned session with Slowdive. We’re talking ambient noise-pop heavy on hazy atmospherics, with the slow-motion momentum of a krautrock band drifting listlessly on the autobahn (sorry, M6 and M40). Narcotic yet nice, would be our opening marketing gambit.
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They’re named after a song by Birmingham electronicists Broadcast and they’re from Brighton originally but live in Nottingham and record for a Manchester-based label. Pass the SatNav. They recorded their Vitamin Easy EP in a haunted Victorian coach-house in the East Midlands, and you can sort of tell. There is so much echo there is hardly room for all the delay. Eerie atmospherica your chosen tipple? You need Michael A Grammar. All Night, Afloat has a motorik charge, with a chant of a chorus, although this is far from the yob-stomp of yesterday’s new band IC1s. The treated vocal is interesting — half in-its-own-world, half a tool for mass communication. The guitars, too, shimmer experimentally while clamouring for attention. The guitars on Light of a Darkness have a country and western twang — think Joy Division in Texas. Upside Down sets the controls for sun-dappled and brings to mind Brian Eno if he was an indie band. On King and Barnes the singer has the stoned baritone of Ian Brown doing an impression of Ian Curtis. The newest track, the Day I Come Alive, is their best to date, a break from their slothful shimmer, more fully realised, closer to a proper single than anything they’ve yet recorded, with a radiant starglow of a chorus, or an effulgent rainburst — something dazzling and elemental, anyway. At times like these, you think, they’re gonna be adored.