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A Magazine for Sheffield


While one half of Manchester’s scene rests on its laurels, forever trying to recreate the city’s halcyon heyday by being ‘mad fer it’, popping pingers well into its forties and belting out poor renditions of ‘Wonderwall’ at every opportune moment, the other half shirks away from that. Instead, acting out its own ultra-hip, Nathan Barley-esque fantasy from within the Northern Quarter. Altar Flowers subscribe to neither of those camps, occupying not so much a murky middle-ground, but an autonomous, technicolour bubble of their own creation.

i.d.s.t., the band’s debut album, draws from a wealth of 80s influences - elements of The Cocteau Twins, Tears for Fears and The Cure all make an appearance, creating a sonic tapestry that’s both wistful and at times utterly uplifting, often within the same song.

Far from being predicated on nostalgia alone, i.d.s.t. juxtaposes the decade’s pop pomp against its more brooding moments, allowing Altar Flowers to effortlessly create their own brand of gothic glam, relishing in the macabre and the mournful, but always remembering its lipstick.

The result is a strange one. A rare marriage in which the overt optimism of one offsets the rampant melancholy of the other, creating a dichotomy both entrenched in its influences and fresh enough to feel contemporary. Like Pretty in Pink being recast with the characters from Donnie Darko, i.d.s.t. is a love letter to both the decade, and the teenage angst and uncertainty that backbones each film.