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The Speed Of Sound – Photo Credit: Shay Rowan
We’re delighted to see British college rock stalwarts The Speed Of Sound are back with a full album following their recent string of eight singles via Big Stir Records. Called Museum of Tomorrow, this collection is foretold by the lead track ‘Museum of Tomorrow’, reminiscent of the best of such artists as Pylon, Throwing Muses, The B-52s, The Judybats, and Lene Lovich.
Hailing from Manchester, the underground music are gearing up for their fifth studio album with 13 tracks. The long-player will be released on CD and Deluxe LP, well timed to coincide with the release of the band’s debut EP back in 1989 – actually 32 years to the day.
‘Tomorrow’s World’ is a sweet taster of what’s in store for listeners, along with an accompanying animated music video that’s set in a retro-future space age world of hovering UFOs and exploration beyond our planet. The entire 21st century seems to have been mis-sold. This song is a cry of anguish and a re-statement of what should have been. Twelve multi-layered synthesizer tracks recreate a flying saucer landing at the end and the ultra-depth in the sound is from bowed bass on the verse-ends and pre-chorus.
Fascinated by the future as viewed through the prism of what once was, where we are at now and hopes for the future, the thoughtfulness that goes into The Speed of Sound’s lyrics and music is precious. With an unmistakable sound and, at time, tandem male-female vocals, the band has found a winning formula. We look forward to hearing the rest of this long-player.
From the opening line “We were offered Star Trek, but they fed us Soylent Green” – which is etched into the vinyl – science fiction abounds within the music, positioning The Now simultaneously in the Future and in the Past. We all exist on the edge of forever.
Conceived as two seamless sides, the vinyl edition of this record was mastered as two complete extended pieces: Gallery One and Gallery Two. Korg synthesizer lines, reminiscent of classic Science Fiction incidental music and sound-collages, link the gapless songs.
This is future retro modern music, rooted in a definite ’60s influence but with an ’80s twist. The Speed Of Sound meshing the power of punk with the floating harmonies of The Byrds. Their sound and alphabetical order places them between Sonic Youth and Dusty Springfield.
The Speed Of Sound formed in Manchester in 1989 with a pre-history dating directly back to the day Andy Warhol died in 1987. Dwelling deep below the ‘music industry radar’ has allowed for the evolution of their own distinct sound, their live act often described totally differently with comparisons from The Stranglers and Television to Jefferson Airplane and The Who.
The Speed Of Sound has continuously produced music that is optimistic and with lyrical bite, a punk-inspired DIY ethos and lust for experimentation rooted in psychedelia. While players have come and gone, the current lineup has largely been the same for four years, including father and son John Armstrong (guitars and vocals) and Henry Armstrong (keyboards), Ann-Marie Crowley (vocals and guitar), Kevin Roache (bass guitar), and John Broadhurst (drums).
‘Tomorrow’s World’ is out on August 14 and will be available via Apple Music and Spotify. On September 17, the Museum of Tomorrow LP will be released digitally, on CD and limited-edition 170g heavy weight vinyl with a choice between black and glorious color. Vinyl orders include a 16-page full-colour A5 printed Exhibition Guide containing lyrics, full-color inner sleeve, a separate picture insert, a sticker, a pair of badges/buttons and a bookmark. The album can already be pre-ordered in all formats at Big Stir Records’ WEBSITE
Written by John Armstrong
John Armstrong – guitars and vocals
Ann-Marie Crowley – vocals and guitars
Kevin Roache – bass guitar
John Broadhurst – drums
Henry Armstrong – keyboards
Recorded at Vibratone Sound Studio, Manchester
Engineered by Adam Crossley and Chris Guest
Mixed By Adam Crossley, Chris Guest and The Speed Of Sound
Mastered by Adam Crossley and Chris Guest at Vibratone Sound Studio
Sleeve front / Artwork by Local Hotel Parking
Also check out the teaser for their upcoming album