I’d be a liar if I said I hadn’t loved my recent week away in Lisbon, but my pleasure was tempered some by missing the chance to catch Spangled at their largest headline to date in their hometown in Manchester at Night People. I suspect that in time it may be one of those gigs that 200 actually attended but several thousand claim they did. Haha, of course I reserve the right to delete and reword this opening paragraph at some point.
It’s quite easy to say I can imagine Spangled could easily come up with an album, although they remain comparatively early in their career (a pedigree dating back to 2019). A perversity, but perhaps covid gave these lads that needed time to work out how to alchemy gold. The band’s debut EP Chasing Nebulas and its 6 tracks is over 30 minutes of music and pretty well into side 2 of a vinyl album. It’s also an EP that is all killer no filler.
It’s also easy to curse the giants of indie, as they often seem to cast a long shadow over what follows with bands trying to emulate their respective heroes. While these top of the tree bands embody what is indie, they also risk perpetuating diminishing returns with the musicians that follow. Spangled totally pitch it right here, I can hear the confidence of Oasis, the rhythm of Stone Roses, the fun of Primal Scream, the tones of The Teardrop Explodes, the timeless genius of Bowie, the gravity and diversity of Michael Stipe, but here it is all mashed up and definitely and totally Spangled. This is the best of old and new. There’s a confidence within the performance for this material, it’s totally justified, it’s totally infectious.
From the off, the first track Greenhill’s Superstar feels like it’s on another planet. The lyrics seem to mash up a drug trip, life in an undistinguished estate in Manchester, and being a face in the local area. I really get that the spirit of Bowie was looking down kindly and grinning like a loon, during the recording of this track. There’s definitely a Hunky Dory era feel and with its brass solo lead break in the song, it is full of class. On the other hand it’s also totally mixed up with the pedigree of peak era Oasis. Swagger is the word here, and the twists make this song feel fresh and well worth listening to. We’ll Always Have Neptune has a clever part Golden Years cum Stone Roses vibe. I defy anyone to tell me that this track is crap; it a tune that certainly makes my fat old man legs swing.
Good Life Better is a totally delicious sounding track, and closes the EP. It convinces me that Spangled are going to be here for the long haul. It’s one of those pure tunes I can listen to on repeat all morning. “You make my good life better” is something I can say of the people close to me – amazing genius to have 6 words that create such emotion and feeling. Along the way is almost 6 minutes of delicious sound, one of those real build up tracks, along the lines of the Verve, and again it’s the relatable sense of the song that is its strength. Drift Away is one more for the rocker types, with a good sensitive clever structure with a lot of time for some banging rock guitar.
Cosmic Vibrations has that lovely Stone Roses era Madchester vibe about it, and I also detect the fun and warm tones of the likes of Julian Cope running through the thread of this band. This is a clever, confident and totally happening tune. Like your music with jangle, with confidence, with total balance? It’s here.
There are a few Manny band that make me happy to be alive (I wont name them for fear of missing someone) and Spangled are up there at the top of this tree. I sometimes see a golden thread in a band that weaves influences all the way right back through pure to the blues roots in all rock and roll; Spangled are such one.
* images have been taken from the band’s social media