Sunday, 11 August 2013

The Lottery Winners - Manchester Academy 3

‘Time to put your prejudice aside ’

I’m glad I slept on it before putting fingers to keyboard to write this review. It gave me time to put Saturday night’s show into perspective and try to put into words why The Lottery Winners personify the definition of dichotomy for an industry paralyzed by the thought of risk, or perhaps just plain scared of actually having a really good time.

You see TLW are a pop band with a capital P.  They may have an indie underbelly but make no mistake this is pop music; and quite possibly the best pop music to come out of Manchester since Nigel Martin Smith cobbled together you know who in 1990.

(Yes I know they’re from Leigh in Lancashire, but let’s give our American readers a fighting chance)

The trouble is that pop bands aren’t supposed to look like The Lottery Winners, not as far as the British Phonographic Industry is concerned anyway.  Whilst for too cool for school indie fashionistas they represent what is likely to be a guilty pleasure, but oh what a pleasure. To all of the above I say it’s time to put aside your prejudice and give The Lottery Winners the great big hug they crave.

Tonight the band is in their element, surrounded by friends and converts as they deliver one sing-along after another, with frontman Thom Rylance conducting proceedings in his usual affable manner. As Rylance pulls the strings like a master puppeteer it would be easy to overlook Rob Lally’s deft guitar lines or Katie Lloyd’s considered melodic bass, the pair also providing faultless harmonies and counter melodies that cheer the soul. Imagine Berry Gordy had shaped The Smiths with The Housemartins on backing vocals and Prefab Sprout sticking their oar in at every opportunity and you’ll just about get the picture. Behind it all sit Joe Singleton’s drums, sharply executed and to my absolute delight containing no unnecessary clutter, just as it should be.

Current single ‘Learn To Sleep’, the wonderful, ‘Curtains’, ‘Artificial Flowers’ and ‘Something To Leave The House For’ are all received with open arms before the band are joined by ex Inspiral’s frontman Tom Hingley for a cameo performance of ‘This Is How it Feels’.

Rylance’s between song banter is both witty and  self-deprecating in equal measure. Yet,if I could change anything (and I'm still not sure I want to) it would be to put the limiters on, if only so the band could squeeze  a couple more gems into their set. After all, there are songs that fail to get an airing tonight that many a band would kill for. That said, I expect I’m in the minority here and both gut and head tell me it’s never going to happen so let’s move on.

As the a cappella strains of the timeless ‘Emerald City’ fade to the applause it deserves, the band quite rightly finish with the exceptional ‘Pillows’ (surely a single in waiting?) and we’re done. 

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again; The Lottery Winners have songs stuffed with more hooks than a fisherman’s jacket. All they need is for a major label to grow some balls and put their hand in their pocket, the rest as they say will be...... Just imagine this year’s Brit Awards with The Lottery Winners in place of Tom (dull as S**te) Odell………Worth tuning in for I'd wager. 

'Learn To Sleep' is Out Now. Available from iTunes 


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