Ruth's Manuvas


My musical ramblings – gig and album reviews, music news and views

The Longcut ‘Open Hearts’ – review

The Longcut, Open Hearts

The Longcut, Open Hearts

The Longcut were once tipped to be the next darlings of Manchester. Formed in 2002, the trio leaked a slow trickle of records beginning with Transitions in 2004, which led to significant column inches in the musical press, critical acclaim and enough hype to put them at the top table with big up and coming indie names like The Killers, Kasabian and Kaiser Chiefs who all released debuts that year.

Although the band’s follow up EP, A Quiet Life was released in June 2005, there was never enough of The Longcut’s material consistently around at the time to break down the door of the busy music scene. Thus, their brooding tunes never quite reached boiling point in the eyes of the public, nor did they cement any kind of commercial success. And when the debut album A Call And Response eventually landed in June 2006, by then, as good as it was, the wave of widespread recognition they were set to ride on had subsided.

Now, three years on that perhaps wasn’t a bad thing, as Open Hearts serves as an emphatic reminder of just how good The Longcut are. I mean, this is seriously seriously good music.

True to form, messers Stuart Ogilvie, Lee Gale and Jon Fearon took their time with the record and have pulled a rabbit out of the hat with one of the most exciting albums of 2009.

Out At The Roots is a heavy bass guitar laden opener cautioning ‘You cannot say we didn’t warn you, you should have listened when you could’. With shades of UNKLE, it builds into a moody track with measured beats which underline the whole album, setting the scene for this musical diary which documents just what The Longcut have been up to.

There are echoes of The Rapture on Something Inside and Ogilvie’s detached, disinterested sounding vocals fit perfectly, as do the minor notes of the piano. Tell You So is delivered with an equal measure of brilliance and raw edged guitars.

Evil Dance is a menacing, sublime track starting with Muse sounding beats and guitars, but with a depth and quality they could only dream of. The shouted lyrics, “I thought that I was lost and I was scared as hell, I’m happy I was wrong” together with that same mesmerising pulse and scratch make it a highlight.

To be truthful there is not a low point amongst the eleven. You Can Always Have More, Mary Bloody Sunshine and Boom are soaring melodic post-rock sounding offerings, whilst Open Hearts has more than a hint of Stone Roses vocals combined with a soft drum machine. Another gem is Repeated, with its layer upon layer of beats, instruments and guitars which build to a spine tingling crescendo woven with the lyrics “I’ll be by your side”, vouching for the band’s softer side.

The Last Ones Here is the sign off – a track not dissimilar in formula to a Chemical Brothers’ closing offering, starting with soft lyrics and building before the final curtain call.

Open Hearts can best be described as a soundtrack to a drive through pelting rain and wind across the Pennines on the M62 towards Manchester – it is awe inspiring, beautiful and bewildering all at the same time. After all, the album is an atmospheric homecoming of sorts for the Northern trio. And importantly, it is definitive justification for the early prophetics of future brilliance the band received at their outset.

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