Blanketman – ‘National Trust’ EP review

Blanketman band Through the Eyes of Ruby EP release
Photo credit: Through the Eyes of Ruby

Already favourites of Annie Mac, Steve Lamacq, Marc Riley and Lauren Laverne, Manchester four-piece Blanketman are getting set to release their new EP, ‘National Trust’. The songs cover everything from the band’s exasperation at Britain’s national identity to personal fears, escapism and the consequences of financial, social and geographical divisions.

The early Maximo Park-style art rock sound of ‘Beach Body’ opens the EP as the band hypnotically tell tales about people learning lessons amidst hearty shouts of ‘Lift off!’ and a delightfully wonky bass line. This is followed by the recent single ‘Leave the South’, a song that tackles the differences between the North and South (where the water doesn’t taste so good and ‘it’s too expensive’) while also examining how hard it is to keep touch with friends from your home when your life and circumstances change. ‘Harold’ marries Jarvis Cocker-esque observations with harmonious jangle pop while ‘Dogs Die in Hot Cars’ has a slower groove and a passionate shout of ‘Wind down your windows!’ Both the title – and sound – reminded us of the great lost mid-00s band of the same name, who are actually due to come back soon. Anyway, we digress…

‘Blue Funk’ has a bass-led intro, pacy drums and danceable hooks that sit perfectly alongside contemporaries including Indoor Pets, Sports Team and The Orielles. It opens with talk of the sun coming up but followed by the warning ‘Don’t let it rise to far, we still need the darkness to hide who we are’. This concept of hiding who you are is a theme that is returned to again and again on this release and it’s backed up by further elements of self-doubt and depreciation – the band later talk about writing songs that all sound the same and how they can’t find their place in the world: ‘I guess I belong here. I don’t want to go outside. I’ll stay in the darkness, the place where I can hide’. The title track is short and sharp with details of how city buses and National Trust destinations (‘Castles, cottages, coastlines, countrysides, there’s no place I’d rather hide’) can help you escape the pressures of modern life, while also touching on class warfare. ‘The Tie’ closes the EP in slower and more direct fashion with the admission ‘we’ve been wasting precious time’ and a declaration of doing more: ‘Should have known I wanted to go. I guess I’ll change out of these stupid clothes’.

You’ll want to wrap yourselves up in Blanketman’s sound.

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