By John Armstrong, Rock At Night Manchester
Venue: Deaf Institute-Manchester- 21st July 2018
Upstairs at the Deaf Institute – now a live music venue despite retaining its former name – with its domed sky-lighted ceiling, amid the huge patterned full colour cockatiel wallpaper, glitter ball and unfeasibly high stage an album launch party erupted. Liines we’re hosting their biggest headline gig so far and their official launch gig for their Stop-Start LP. Liines have been busy, very busy so the album launch gig is several months after the actual release, their trajectory has rocketed over the last year and six years of hard work is getting results. This is Liines’ party and they hand selected the support acts.
Opening we had the four piece melodic hurricane that is Threads; their drummer sharing lead vocals split across the songs with the bass player; they introduced one piece as Talking Threads which sounds like Talking Heads and in deed that one does. Threads play with dynamics and tempo to a twin jazzmaster attack.
And then Berries, visitors from London; three piece all female ensemble with triple layered harmonies to twisting Belly-esque tunes, this is pure pop set resplendently in a vigorously bouncing and rockier frame. Uplifting energetic soaring sharp riffed tunes. I bought their EP.
And then it was Liines. Manchester post-punk trio of Zoe McVeigh, guitar and vocals, Tamsin Middleton bass guitar (taking over from original bassist Steph) and Leila O’Sullivan drums. Recorded over the course of a year; Stop / Start involved the band commuting to London at weekends to work on it. It is most definitely worth the sacrifice. Their tight, compacted, nothing wasted approach manages to be sparse and full simultaneously, geometric, yet not automated maths; there is a very raw human element in the music. Liquid rolling pounding bass lines mixed into thunderous floor tom and shimmering hi-hat figures leading the rhythms, with chopping cutting guitar design features and those heartfelt angsty vocals.
New song ‘Sorry’ sat well in the set and bodes well for the future of Liines. The ghost of Joy Division still hangs over Manchester independent music scene, Liines are not carrying on from where it was suddenly left, instead they have picked up the pieces and built something different, driving, thrusting, concise and powerful music with depth. Exactly what is needed today in this world of manufactured pop.
The album abounds with sudden endings ten songs squeezed into 28 minutes of angular rock perfection.
A three handed DJ set by all the members of Liines followed the gig and kept things going to 3am. Belated it may be but this release party was one of the gigs to be at of the year, watch there future because Liines will be in it.
Stop / Start is on Reckless Yes records and is available through Liines’ Bandcamp page
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