ALBUM REVIEW: The Blinders - Columbia (2018)

Manchester-based trio The Blinders release their debut album 'Columbia' today. 

You can listen to the album in full below via YouTube. If you appreciate the music, we encourage you to support the artists by buying their music digitally or physically online or from your local record shop.

Delivering an LP of fierce dystopian rock n roll loosely based around the concept of “an alternate world informed by reality,” The Blinders are an example of a new breed of guitar band who are noticeably far less complacent than many from earlier on in the decade. They bash out an exciting blend of punk, indie and psychedelica, listing their influences as Dylan, Cohen, Mark E Smith, Lennon, Cave, Kerouac, Rimbaud, Orwell, Ginsberg, and S.Borroughs, as well as "Manson and The Devil". 

On the album The Blinders display a ferocious intelligence, as influenced by history, literature and art as they are by Britain’s current political and economic woes. The Blinders are Thomas Haywood (guitar, vocals, word), Charlie McGough (bass guitar), and Matthew Neale (drums, backing vocals). Growing up in Doncaster, the trio met at school and were originally inspired by local heroes Arctic Monkeys, though for ‘Columbia’, they draw on influences as diverse as The Smiths, Nick Cave and Kanye West.

The furious, head-on charge of opener 'Gotta Get Through' sets the tone confidently, before the arrival of the awesome single 'L'Etat C'est Moi' brings dark, heaving power, menacing low slung bass, and blood curdling howls of vocals. 'Hate Song' is a fine slice of confrontational desert rock with surf guitars, 'Where No Man Comes' offers ominous gothic glam punk, and the thumping 'Free The Slaves' leads to the ferocious energy of 'I Can't Breathe Blues'. On 'The Ballad Of Winston Smith', a disillusioned acoustic intro grows into melancholic drama, while The Fall and The Smiths are echoed during the thriving repetition and roaring riffs of the brief 'Et Tu'.

The lengthy Slaves meets Arctic Monkeys centrepiece 'Brutus' is a powerful opus that changes pace numerous times, before the heavy glam rock stomp of 'Brave New World' provides another one of 2018's most essential tracks. 'Rat In A Cage' is a rousing, swaggering Aladdin Sane-like belter, and the closing 'Orbit (Salmon Of Alaska)' delivers a contrasting change of mood, as a continuing narrative builds alongside attractive chords and a surprisingly calm pace, to conclude the LP nicely.

One of 2018's very best new bands have delivered an impressive, vital debut. 8/10


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