In celebration of their great new album The Severance, local band Blaney host a night of merriment at The Castle Hotel in Manchester this Thursday. It's been an interesting and varied life in music for founder Ed Blaney, who's long been associated with The Fall, as well as being the man behind Salford Music Festival.
Released earlier this month, The Severance captures the band in top form and full of Salford swagger. It seems fitting for Blaney to embark on the next chapter of their career in same venue that saw fellow Salfordian John Cooper Clarke start to perform his unique brand of punk poetry.
Ed and the band will mark their return with a show that will include older songs plus tracks from the new record, while the evening will also feature a live set from Bethia Beadman. I caught up with Ed to discuss the new album...
How would you describe the album?
Ed: Probably without a doubt as good as anything I've done before but better; my now grown up kids say, 'It's a return to form'. It has nice rawness and a good energy to it that shows in the recording, I think...We had a great time making it. So far it's been getting a great reaction from all who have bought it and it's already picking plays on national radio which is brilliant considering there is no huge amount of money pushing it; it's pushing itself. You never know how it's gonna go, but now it's out there, that's the main thing.
Why did you decide to record and produce in Berlin?
I don't really like 'proper studios' for working purposes, but the place we managed to find in Berlin was like a dream come true; laid back, no falseness and a really cool place to get into it all. It's actually an old 1950s cinema. We took a big risk, it could have gone right out of the window but it worked 110%. Being away from home really has its advantages, focus wise; there were no distractions, we knew why we was there and what we had to do. So proud of the band and all involved for going along with it and making it what it is.
Do you think your sound has changed over the years?
Yes I think so, in the way it has a more tuneful feel to it. On this album I feel like I'm actually singing which is different. I have so many songs, it's always nice when they come out as you want them to rather than having to compromise with the end result. There is a nice freshness too with this new album, no twiddling or messing about, I much prefer that to something over produced, it's definitely evolving...
What have been your favourite moments from your career in music?
I think at the beginning hearing the very first stuff I did getting played on all local and national radio way back in '96 is one. But in all honesty I feel the best moments are ahead for me and the band in the coming months and years. I've been lucky to travel all over the world doing music in one form or another but this new band has something really special going on.
I had one of my best nights out at Salford Music Festival - will it be coming back?
To be honest I'm not too sure right now. It takes a whole lot of effort and time, but also costs us money being a free event. I'm not saying it won't ever happen again but my own personal life and career is more important at this stage. We all achieved a lot with it, everyone involved, hopefully it will get the financial support and backing it deserves. That would be a good start for the future of SMF and the great city that is Salford.
What can we expect on the night? People can expect to dance, enjoy a great night out, hearing a real set of well crafted songs in a great space, played live. I have not played Manchester with my own band since 2000, so it's gonna be a very special night. We have also invited Bethia Beadman who's travelling up from London to open up for us; she is a very unique talent indeed.
Blaney: The Severance Album Launch and Live Show
Thursday 30th November
7:30pm – band on stage 8:45pm
The Castle Hotel
66 Oldham Street
Manchester M4 1LE
Tickets £7 – book direct from Blaney's website – click here
For further details also see the event Facebook page – click here
Blaney: The Severance – available in download from all major platforms or on CD and vinyl via the website.
Hear Janice Long endorse the album on radio and play a track - click here
Words by Ian Leslie
Blaney: The Severance Review
The Severance is a proper accomplished rock album that veers from swaggering pounding beats to a laid back lament and even some spaghetti western guitar soundscapes. All held together by the mid west Salford intones of sometime Fall manager and Trigger Happy mainstay, Ed Blaney.
The rock comes courtesy of tracks like Happy Return – 'magic is happening, I'm feeling free, both hands clapping' – and Feel The Rain, which arrives with pounding beats, and vocals that come on like Lou Reed sniffing the Irwell's underwear long after the boat's sailed...to Blackpool, where love's waves crash on the sonic banks of some girl's illuminations.
Bin Liner introduces a swaggering brass section as a backdrop to more male angst, with emotions and the musical mood building as the lyrics cry, 'I'm drinking most of the time, out of my mind'...Very catchy. Listen to it a few times and you end up singing along... 'the way she kisses oh so sweeeeet'...
Title track, The Severance, has a kind of Native American chant going on as the lyrics mull existential escape, while 11007 Days Old is a good old lament that could be about home town Salford...
'I remember when true spirit lived
There wasn't anything that your neighbour wouldn't give...
Party in the street and the drinks are free
Four Party Sevens and a bottle of QC...'
Tessa has that spaghetti western guitar, as the lyrics head off into the pining desert of 'my distant heart'; Thinking of You uses a reggae feel to build to a rock climax... 'I was thinking of yoooou'; The 11th Man gallops along incessantly, and The Arrival ends the journey with some kind of happy ska-driven jaunty redemption in Berlin... 'singing na, na, na na, na...naaaaa... F...R...double EE, there's only one way, so let it be...'
The Severance, a follow up to previous acclaimed album Urban Nature, sees Ed on a very personal and physical voyage, shared through the prism of some cool sounds and proper songs that range from raucous to rhythmic but always engaging. This is soul on the sleeve stuff that should work on two levels – a lonely blokey just-split-up listening level, and a live level where you can fuck the lyrics off and just rock out...
Review by SK