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The Big Defreeze

Funny how time flies when you’re enjoying yourself. In the three years since Screaming Is Something, while gigging has been the focus, Manchester’s The Travelling Band has been carefully assembling their latest effort, The Big Defreeze. Available to fans who pledged money as a deposit for some time, the general release finally arrives at the end of August and it seems to be worth the wait.

Whilst there’s the comfortingly familiar, confident and fresh sound of the opening ‘Passing Ships’, from the rolling drums and slow build to the choral chants, the feel of the album is one with a range of textures and styles, hallmarked with the usual Travelling Band seal of quality. There’s a mid-album shift which sees the more restrained atmospherics of ‘78.8%’ and ‘Borrowed And Blue’, the latter changing gear with a typically melodic refrain, followed by the mournful lyrics of ‘Sticks And Stones’. Combine that with friendly and mellow pop tunes in ‘Garbo’ and ’25 Hours’, and the stomp of ‘For All The Fallen’, and The Big Defreeze starts to become a kaleidoscope of images and sounds.

The collection is topped off with a bona fide anthem in ‘Hands Up’ – a song which you might bet on being their breakthrough song. It may be their ‘Sit Down’ or ‘One Day Like This’. It may even be one of those songs that will come to haunt them in the future, but a really rousing way to close an impressive set.

On one level, they’ve presented a record which is openly accessible, yet on another level there’s a rewarding depth. Suffice to say the convoy’s rolling with the new sound of Manchester and there’s a comforting warm feeling of being back.

Mike Ainscoe