Ist Ist

Everything Is Different Now EP

I don't know if it's part of living in Manchester or just spending my formative years listening to the music that bands like this are trying to ape, but you can hear a pretender within seconds. Make no mistake, Ist Ist are pretenders.

After a first track that sets up a decent mood, the following three tracks are a collection of robotic drums, high note bass lines and a synth that is doing very little other than filling space. Combine all of this with a purposeful baritone voice with dark lyrics and it all just sounds a little too Joy Division with all the edges smoothed off.

If it hadn't been for bands like Editors and the thankful death of 'indie' a few years ago now, there's a chance that Ist Ist would've made their way into the cultural consciousness unhindered, but I can't see it happening. There was a time when easy and commercial versions of the post-punk visionaries that came before them were storming the charts and many people felt that they were laying the foundations for something interesting, but we know now that this was nothing more than recycling something that was genuinely experimental. It would seem that Ist Ist didn't get the message.

In a post post-punk, post Mark E Smith world, we have to start expecting more of our young talent. This is not the best that Manchester has to offer, not by a long shot. If they want to create anything worth listening to, I suggest they do an Idles: rip it up and start again.

Jacob Ormrod

W.H. Lung

Incidental Music

When I first saw W.H. Lung live, I was absolutely blown away.

This is a surprise, given that the Manchester band, who are named after a cash and carry, was initially conceived as a studio project. Singer Joseph Evans is a talismanic figure and their music pounds and transfixes, seeping into your psyche and producing an almost hallucinatory experience.

Translating that onto record is a huge challenge, but with the release of their debut album, Incidental Music, W.H. Lung have managed to bottle the essence of their genius. A pulsating energy forms the core of their music, crackling through eight eclectic tracks. Their sound encompasses a myriad of influences, but the one constant is the call to dance. Superbly crafted, their music feels like a shamanic ritual, a trance-like hedonism which rattles your bones and infests the core of your being.

Containing elements of pop, krautrock, psychedelia and electronica, Incidental Music harnesses the band’s electricity and focuses it in a way which allows their sound to continually morph and evolve. Opening with the tribalistic and synth-driven ‘Simpatico People’, they whirl and shimmy through the unstoppable ‘Bring It On’ to the hypnotic beats of ‘Inspiration’.

W.H. Lung have managed something quite remarkable with this record. They’ve crafted a multi-layered and sonically dense record which also floats and soars. It’s on the nirvana-inducing ‘Nothing is’ where they reach their zenith, a song which is so brilliantly crafted and utterly joyous that you’ll never want it to end.

Rob Aldam