Shop our Big Takeover store for back issues, t-shirts & CDs
Follow The Big Takeover
The Membranes – Photo courtesy of The Membrranes
Formed in 1978 in Blackpool, The Membranes played classic bass-driven northern post punk and were part of the same world as bands like The Fall, Sisters Of Mercy, Echo and The Bunnymen, and Cabaret Voltaire, all inspired by 1977 to launch their own idiosyncratic journeys. The band released a remarkable series of records that combined their small town frustration with a love of heavy bass and distortion. This ultimately became a prime influence and the precursors to such American noiseniks as Steve Albini, Swans, and Sonic Youth.
John Peel and music press favorites, a continual frenzy of releases, public acclaim and touring worldwide with national TV appearances, the band went on hiatus in 1990 until finally reforming in 2010.
The Membranes are Peter Byrchmore (guitar), Nick Brown (guitar), Rob Haynes (drums), and John Robb (vocals and bass), a renowned TV and radio pundit, editor of Louder Than War, a key UK music site and national magazine, and curator of the Louder Than Words festival.
The Membranes have announced What Nature Gives… Nature Takes Away, a dark and brooding double album of psychedelic post-punk soundscapes set for release on June 7th via Cherry Red Records. Ahead of that, they are previewing lead track “A Strange Perfume”, which premiered at The Quietus.
With 16 epic, powerful, and darkly romantic songs on offer, this is The Membranes’ eighth studio album overall and the second since they reformed in 2010 when former support band My Bloody Valentine convinced them to return to the stage for the ATP festival. This album is a game changer in the tradition of Manchester bands like Joy Division.
This album features appearances from vocalist Kirk Brandon (Theatre of Hate, Spear of Destiny) and 84-year-old folk singer Shirley Collins, one of England’s premier folk singers of the ’60s revival. Renowned nature TV presenter Chris Packham also contributes, as does the legendary Jordan, who practically invented the punk look in 1975. Half the tracks also feature the 20-piece BIMM Choir, offsetting a sound laden with dark drones and an atmosphere of melancholic epic power.
The album was recorded at 6DB Studio in Manchester with Ding Archer, formerly band member with PJ Harvey, The Pixies and producer of the last nine albums by The Fall. John Robb wrote all the parts for the choir. This release follows up their acclaimed album Dark Matter/Dark Energy, the band’s best-selling release, which received rave reviews and ample radio play on BBC 6 Music and internationally.
What Nature Gives… Nature Takes Away is about the beauty and violence of nature. This is a very diverse work with dark, brooding cinematic choir-driven songs. Imagine the sound of Hieronymus Bosch paintings to discordant wild songs about crows, demon flowers, strange perfumes, voluptuous petals, voluminous oceans, treacherous seasons and the poetry of life and death set to spooked pulsing musical pieces, ranging from epic choir-driven post-punk songs to dark dub workouts, from throbbing dirty disco dark wave pulses to grinding heavy bass-driven pieces, from apocalyptic visions to choir driven epic swirls.
“This is the pinnacle of our long and strange journey. This album is steeped in the powerful forces of nature and an underlying emotional undertow that is dark and brooding bass driven postpunk with the epic swirl of the choir and a diversity of sounds that takes you on a trip. I put my life into this album musically, lyrically and emotionally,” says John Robb.
More in news