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WIND IN THE WILLOWS
:: Tycoons Follies :: Juno Ashes :: The People Involved ::
30 November 2006 / Academy 3 / Manchester
By Cath Aubergine

There's a band on when we arrive called TYCOONS FOLLIES whose frontman Steve Trafford is a (relatively) recent departure through The Fall's revolving door. The name Tycoons Follies sounds very much like an ex Fall member's band name, although the band themselves have little in common with his previous employment; from the couple of tracks we catch, they do pleasantly psychedelic jangle-pop that's actually got more connection musically with the other end of the M62, from the La's to Julian Cope.

THE PEOPLE INVOLVED present a rather different flavour of psychedelia; every song starts with some glorious analogue synth wobble - but then a powerful battery of guitars kick in, lead rhythm and bass three abreast; they may be rather understated compared to Muse (having said that, so was Liberace) but this is definitely music from that dad-friendly area between grown-up indie rock and prog. Sometimes they sound like serious "Caught By The River" spec Doves; elsewhere Mansun to pink Floyd. The keyboard player is quite definitely enjoying himself, throwing out loops and squiggles whilst thrusting himself at the instrument so hard he looks like he might crash into it any minute. They're an accomplished and powerful band and considerably more engaging as they go on than the first couple of tracks had suggested; sometimes the commercially polished ordinariness of the vocals lets them down a bit although at other times Seth Fullbrook can do Thom Yorke with the best of them. This is decent, high quality 21st century prog, which is refreshingly free from all the elfy nonsense that made 20th century prog so unpleasant. Just one thing though - singers: do not burp near the mic when introducing a song. Ever. Please. Thanks.

JUNO ASHES have been around just four months and this is their first Manchester gig, but you wouldn't know it. But then this is no inexperienced bunch of chancers; the rhythm section of Adam Masters and Paul Dean cut their teeth in Sideshow whilst Neil McDonald spent a decade in Puressence - and as soon as he touches the strings the ethereal chiming of one of Manchester's greatest unsung guitar heroes is unmistakeable. Augmented by Rob Steadman's keyboard washes they already have a powerful but chilling sound; downbeat Doves bred with stadium-strength soaring chord sequences and nod to the atmospheric end of prog; singer Andrew Gardner finally enters the stage after a long windswept introduction. His voice really is quite stunning; rich, strong, swooping and commanding, dropping to a shivery murmur in quieter moments. And even if, sadly, most of those quieter moments seem to be drowned out by various loud conversations inexplicably going on around the front of the crowd, it's clear this is a band with a lot of depth and potential.





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Resources:
The People Involved
Juno Ashes
Tycoons Follies

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