Wednesday, 21 December 2011

British Wildlife Festival: Stranger Son

Stranger Son (Manchester)

Raw, no-nonsense energy. Lean and taut synth-pop, and a disco beat with teeth. Snarling vocals are backed by a super-tight band. This outfit are for fans of The Fall, early Factory Records, New York post-punk/disco-not-disco innovators like ESG, The Contortions and Liquid Liquid, all fuelled by lethal amounts of Suicide-style energy.

Main member Gareth Smith, is backed by about ten different line-ups -- the shifting sound held together by the underlying style of Gareth's punchy writing and snarling vocal delivery. Following on from a couple of highly-acclaimed singles on the Kum Ba Yah and Marquis Cha Cha labels, as well as a Marc Riley BBC session, Smith locked himself away in his Chorlton flat and battered out the scratchy, 4-track demos. With an emphasis on nailing a "vibe" over tidiness, Gareth's dysfunctional vocal separating it from any obvious Madchester dubiousness. Then comes the lean disco-not-disco vibes of "Engine" brutal and gigantic, recalling the terrifying vibes of The Birthday Party's "The Friend Catcher.

Stranger Son is the sound of Manchester now. Sure, there are comparisons to The Fall, ESG, etc., but this is not some limp pastiche of the Northwest's previous musical glories, polished-up to appeal to the masses. A ridiculously tight rhythm section shores up scrawling guitar and Smith's howling/shouted vocal stylings, and one cannot help but jerk along. This is a raw burst of primal energy, with songs that are as catchy as hell.
WHITEBOX012 - Stranger Son 'Inside Many Summers' EP 12" Sampler by whitebox

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