Album review: The Blinders - Columbia
The Blinders are three lads from Doncaster who have given a firm kick in the pants to the notion that guitar music is dead.
After a couple of DIY releases which made the likes of 6Music's Steve Lamacq sit up and take notice, they have unleashed this debut album, and what a record it is.
Thomas Haywood (guitar, vocals), Charlie McGough (bass), and Matthew Neale (drums) have now relocated to Manchester, and acquired plenty of that city's musical swagger.
Influenced by Arctic Monkeys and Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, there's also a hint of Kasabian in their groove-laden alt-rock sound.
This brooding collection of 12 songs is loosely based around the concept of Columbia as “an alternate world informed by reality”.
It demands your attention from the off with a wonderful brace of singles, the insistent Gotta Get Through and L'Etat C'Est Moi (it means I Am The State).
Like most of the album's best moments, they're propelled along by delicious post-industrial bass lines reminiscent of Peter Hook in his Joy Division pomp.
Hate Song, I Can't Breathe Blues and Et Tu raise the bar even higher, but in an album full of standout tracks, perhaps the best is the soaring and swooping Brutus, in which frontman Thomas Haywood evokes memories of Johnny Rotten, singing "they're going to build a Berlin wall".
They show on the reflective Orbit (Salmon Of Alaska) that they're capable of a change of pace too, and it's a closing song that mnakes you want to listen to the whole glorious thing all over again.
There will be few first albums this year as good as this one. 8/10.
* The Blinders are touring to support Columbia, including a date at The Cluny in Newcastle on Tuesday, October 16. Catch them if you can.