With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music reviews, gig reviews, fun trivia and extra added random stuff!

“Twisted Cord” – Caulbearers March 16, 2022

Until last week I had never heard of Manchester-based Caulbearers – hard to believe that I have missed out on their infectious and totally engaging music for the last 10 years. That, I’m happy to say, has now all changed, and I can’t get enough of them! Released by Single Cell Recordings on the 25 February 2022 their new upbeat 2-track single, comprised of “Twisted Cord”, an impressive funk-rock track, and a completely different B-side “Synching (Bubbling Spring Remix)”. The title track is a masterful mix of guitars, drums, bass, and synths producing a rich and layered sound. I have been binge-listening to this awesome track (and all of their previous releases) and each time I listen I hear a multitude of genres; electronica, jazz, pop, funk, world, and folk. That’s no surprise when the tracks have been mixed and mastered courtesy of Seadna Mcphail (Badly Drawn Boy, Jah Wobble, Everything Everything, I Am Kloot, Happy Mondays) and Jim Spencer (New Order, Johnny Marr, Charlatans, Factory Floor). The track kicks off with a catchy and gritty guitar hook, which stays throughout, and is also my earworm at the moment! This song explores different musical areas and often hearing nuances of Flamenco and sometimes Arabic sounds, all enhanced by renowned violinist, Olivia Moore, whose own work fuses jazz with Indian classical music.

This track also features a myriad of Manchester-based musicians such as pianist John Ellis (The Cinematic Orchestra, Stone Roses’ John Squire, Corinne BaileyRae, Tom Jones, Lily Allen) and bassist Alex Berry (The Earlies, King Creosote, Daniel Johnston, Thea Gilmore, Micah P Hinson). The band is fronted by Damien Mahoney, the driving force behind Caulbearers. He was a co-founder of Single Cell Collective, a group of artists, activists, and musicians from a housing estate in Hulme, Manchester, from where it all began. Together with guitarist Anton Hunter, cellist Stefan Skrimshire and drummer Phil Bennett they create a perfect musical delight. Ruth Blake also contributes background vocals in her ongoing collaboration with the band, bringing an unexpected folky feel to the track. “The songs are rarely stories specifically, but more like moods, deep emotional states or parallel worlds that we enter into, where scenarios, perspectives, and protagonists can shift and morph with a dream-like quality,” says Damien Mahoney.

The B-side, “Synching (Bubbling Spring Remix)”, is a complete contrast to the main track. It first appeared on their ‘More Lie Deep’ EP back in 2011, but don’t let that put you off. It meanders gently through some melodic glockenspiels, muted electronic drums, and cello strings producing an ethereal dreamy listening sensation. The song features Rob Turner (GoGo Penguin) on drums and Julie E Gordon (Happy Mondays) on backing vocals alongside Damien Mahoney. I was taken back to 1984 when I first heard this track, reminding me of Paddy McAloon from Prefab Sprout. That sophisticated musical style, breathless verses, and crisp rhythms. Emotional and melodic, Mahoney’s lyrics describe some of the profound experiences and teachings he received at Buddhist retreats many years ago, which have helped to lift long-term depression. It’s a B-side, but not one to be overlooked. Hurry up with the album and can’t wait to see you guys live!

Written by Juan Brooks.

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