The Madding Crowd
A Stitch In Time
16th December 2013
North Manchester – a place I spent many years prowling round, via its’ council estates, streets and bye-ways, whilst in a former role. Also, a place I lived in for a good few years before returning to Salford. A formative and changing, and sometimes challenging place, a mixture of varying settlements, bisected by arterial routes, and, in Moston specifically, a fascinating collection of villages and townships, soon, of course, to be the home of FC United of Manchester.
Moston – It’s a place you can’t really get a handle on at times – the differences outweigh the similarities. Having spent some time there I was often struck how unique it was as a place. And it appears that the psycho-geography of the area – that variance – has seeped into the work of a band that hail from that neck of the woods.
So, in case you have not met them before can I introduce you to The Madding Crowd – which comprises Ben (Vocals/Guitar), Dominic (Guitar), & Claud (Bass) Corry, and Danny Kristof (Drums). ‘A Stitch in Time’ is their third EP, it was produced by Adam Briffa at Futureworks studios over the course of 2013 and is due for release on December 16th.
What do I mean by psycho-geography? Well, over the course of just under twenty minutes you get four tunes that are as varied in content as the environs from which they sprung.
Opener “The Blood Upon Their Face” is a taut, angry piece built around a sultry back-beat from Kristof . Ben delivers an intense and heartfelt vocal as scabrous guitars mutter and rumble in the background. And like their material, even within a song, the band play with form and structure to provide variety. Pretty epic stuff.
Next up is single “When I Go Walking In The Rain” which moves from the preceding epic into raw punky wide boy (and girl) pop – instantly memorable, it is full of hooks which you’ll be singing along to for days. And once again, even within it’s relatively shorter 3:50 you move from jangly pop to terrace chanting at the end – demonstrating the bands abilities in song-craft and delivery.
“The Sands Of Time” is back to epic indie territory with a wall of sound that Mr Spector would be proud off. It’s in this track that the band demonstrates its’ influences more than the others. The tradition of recent broad scope post-rock Manchester bands (I’m thinking Oceansize and Amplifier here) is mixed with the indie swagger of the Madchester days. When I first heard the band, around a year ago, I was reminded to some degree of some elements of 70s progressive rock – but that probably says more about me – however I do feel there is a cinematic feel to the band that reflects the best of those types of bands.
Matters conclude with another leap in direction with the gentle ambience of “I Want To Be A Butterfly”. It offers a relaxing coda to all of the intensity of what has gone before. Melodic and memorable it shows that the band can do the quiet stuff as well as the louder productions.
The band play Dry Live, Manchester on November 29th and Sound Control, Manchester on December 21st which also happens to be the launch show for the E.P.
Strongly recommended as one of the leading lights of new music in the Manchester Conurbation at the moment.
Listen to the band interviewed and in session on Stephen Doyle’s Sonic Diary No 183
Soundcloud – www.soundcloud.com/vivalamaddingcrowd
Twitter – @MaddingCrowdUK
Vibe Divison Merchandise Profile – http://vibedivision.com/the-madding-crowd
Big Cartel Profile – themaddingcrowdstore.bigcartel.com