Wigan plays a crucial, central, role in British youth subculture. From the glory days of the Casino, the spiritual home of the Nothern Soul scene, and on to the equally glorious days of the nineties British music scene when The Verve were responsible for some of the decades most affecting music the city has always captured the spirit of the times in ways that other more, dare I say it, glamorous cities never really have.
Staking their claim to be the next big thing to emerge from the Northern town are Stanleys, a four piece featuring Tom Concannon (voice), Jake Dorsman (guitar), Harry Ivory (bass) and Rob Hilton (drums and voice) they are banking on people having a place in their hearts for shimmering guitars, sunny melancholy and subtle confidence. The question is not do people have a place in their hearts for those things but rather; what sort of person wouldn’t have a place in their heart for those things?
I know I do.
I’m fairly sure you do.
The most arresting thing about Stanleys is that, unlike so many other “new” bands with one ear tuned in to the sounds of nineties Britain and the other locked onto the sixties they have managed not to sound like a pale imitation of Oasis. They are gentle, melodic, winsome and are completely lacking in the sort of boorish aggression that marks certain other bands. As you listen you are hit by a rather unnerving thought…what if this is a band who want to be THE band and not just a copy of THAT band? That would be good wouldn’t it?
Whisper it…but I think that is exactly what Stanleys are; a band who want to be who they are and not who other people were.
You can hear it in the shuffle and swoop of “The Martyr” which was released last year and in the plaintive, yearning, glimmer of “A Better Life” which has just, as the kids say, d-rrrroppped. Or something.
It is also worth noting the fact that if you are going to give your heart to a band it should be a band who have a bass player called Harry Ivory.
Who doesn’t want to adore a band with a bass player called Harry Ivory.
Hell, I want to be Harry Ivory.