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Mancunian Candidate - Mancunian Candidate CD (album) cover


Mancunian Candidate


Crossover Prog

3.29 | 6 ratings

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kev rowland
Special Collaborator
Crossover Prog Team
4 stars A little while ago I heard from Matthew Swindells who asked if I would be interested in hearing his new project, Mancunian Candidate. I was immediately intrigued, as Matthew used to be drummer with Moth Vellum, and since the demise of that band the only person I had been in regular contact was Johannes Luley, both with his solo work and with Perfect Beings. I don't know what Matthew has been doing in the last ten plus years, but prior to his involvement with Moth Vellum he had performed and recorded with electronic music pioneers Fila Brazillia, and also collaborated with Matt Bissonette, singing lead vocals on the bassist's 2004 release 'Raising Lazarus', which featured a Swindells original 'Money in My Tea/In My Pockets.' Bissonette returns the favour this time, providing bass on three of the songs.

On the album Swindells provides all the drums, keyboards and vocals along with some acoustic guitar, and has used Matthew Charles Heulitt (Moetar, Narada Michael Walden Ziggabo Modeliste) and Johnny Heyes (Mica Paris, Tito Jackson, Errol Brown, Badbone & Co) on guitar, while bass is provided by Bissonette (Elton John, David Lee Roth, Joe Satriani), Neil Fairclough (Queen & Adam Lambert), Jon Evans (Tori Amos, Sarah Mclauchlan), Ollie Collins (Black Rivers, Alan Parsons, Badly Drawn Boy) and long-time Swindells collaborator Andy Shepley. Mandolin is played by Jasper Wilkinson (I Am Your Autopilot). So, a host of stellar collaborators, who all know exactly what they are doing, and this is then all brought together with great songs and vocals.

I hadn't realised prior to this that Matthew is a pom, I had always assumed he was American, but he is originally from Manchester, and that shines through in the music. It is quite poppy in some ways, and I can imagine The Hollies having had their part to play, combined then with the likes of XTC. It is at the heart a very English album, in terms of style and mannerisms, but with an American polish over the top, crossover prog at its very truest. The pop combines with the progressive complexity to leave the listener feeling refreshed and with a smile on their face. This isn't music that is complex and dense just of the sake of being so, but instead is carefully constructed and layered, so that it feels light and joyous. Some prog music, okay a lot of prog music, feels as if it has been put together in such a manner that the listener is supposed to be impressed with what is going on even if they don't enjoy and comprehend the actual music itself. No such problem here, this is all about simple complexity, and loads of fun. Let's hope that the return to the scene is such that Matthew releases another album in the near future, as this is something I have enjoyed immensely.

kev rowland | 4/5 |


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