Manchester and music have a deeply harmonious relationship. Though the glory days of Madchester may now feel like a relic of the past, the city’s industrial roots have always allowed for fresh talent to be churned out onto its cultural conveyor belt, embedded within the heart of its synonymous red-brick jungle. Now, Blanketman are just one outfit within the current flurry of Manchester bands poking their heads above the parapet and preparing to take charge across the post-COVID no man’s land of the UK music scene, freshly equipped with their debut EP National Trust.
Already backed heavily by key UK tastemakers (Steve Lamacq [Radio 6 Music], Annie Mac [Radio 1], DIY, NME), Blanketman’s fizzy, restless post-punk aesthetic is infectious. The band were signed to [PIAS] Recordings (Mogwai, Pixies) in their very early stages — a testament to their potential — and their sharp, sardonic pop edge has allured the likes of Steve Hanley (The Fall) to perform with them live on several occasions.
Their debut single, “Taking You With Me,” marked the arrival of a band full of ideas early last year. With National Trust, the band showcase a whirlwind of themes at an equally relentless pace — such are the intricacies of modern millennial life. “Beach Body,” which was released as the follow-up to their debut single, kicks off proceedings with scratchy guitars and indelible vocal melodies dedicated to the ailing Brit abroad.
“Leave The South” unravels the band’s Northern ethos in all its glory. “I managed to convince myself that moving back up North would solve all my problems,” says vocalist and guitarist Adam Hopper in a press release. “I laugh at that now and that’s what the song is about — although the water really does taste better up North.” Following track “Harold” encompasses tales of personal fears and night terrors, contrasting sharply with its upbeat sonic surroundings, while “Dogs Die in Hot Cars” offers a tongue-in-cheek take on existentialism: “Next time you get some milk from the Spar / Take the time and remember where you are.”
The highlight of the EP lies in its title track “National Trust.” Based upon the UK National Trust, which owns many places of (usually middle and upper class) cultural interest, Hopper’s proud admittance to owning a season pass — which would not be considered very working class — shows an indie infused humor to the band and it’s hard not to imagine that this will be an energetic crowd pleaser upon their return to live gigs.
Closing with a monstrously addictive guitar riff in “The Tie,” National Trust is a sharp and vibrant debut EP from a band who are bringing Manchester’s musical heritage forward once more to relate to the array of complexities that adorn millennial life.