Monday, 2 November 2009

Album Review- The Longcut - Open Hearts

Paul introduced me to The 'Cut (to give them their abbreviated title) about 4 years ago. He lined up "A Quiet Life" one post-Christmas drinkathon with his usual refrain "You're going to love this!" 4 minutes later, after a turbo-charged, frenetic wig-out of a tune, I was hooked.

I quickly discovered that this Mancunian 3 piece had a unique dynamic about them, as I saw them support Nine Black Alps in London a couple of months later. No, it wasn't that they were actually a 4 piece, it was that the drummer was also the full-time singer..and occasionally dabbled on the keyboards as well. With mic and keyboards front of stage, and drumkit back of stage, most songs were constructed in such a way as to allow Stuart Ogilvie (to give him his name) the chance to travel between the two without having to run (and potentially have a nasty on-stage accident). The best result of this was the sense of anticipation one felt as you waited for the vocals to drop out, Stuart to leave the mic, head for the stool, and fire up the drums. Or, in the case of "Gravity in Crisis", the other way round;

Gravity in Crisis live in Manchester

So, after disappearing into the studio a couple of years ago, they have finally emerged (blinking into the sunlight, naturally) with a real chameleon of a second album. On the plus side, "Open Hearts" is so bristling with so many good ideas that surely at least one of them should get a spot on Dragon's Den. As well as containing several tracks with their trademark combination of electronic beats and echoey, monotone vocals, followed by a breakdown, and then an outro of tight, frenetic drumming and blitzkreig guitar ("Tell You So", "Mary Bloody Sunshine", "Boom"), there is also a far dancier element to other tracks, with "Something Inside", "Evil Dance" and particularly the title track standing out, the latter morphing almost into pure house after a Joy Division/Cure opening. Elsewhere, The Fall, The Wedding Present, New Order, At The Drive In and Fugazi should also get honourable mentions.

The only issue with such an album is that, to these ears, it doesn't really know what it is or where it wants to go, so you end up feeling a little bit dazed and confused. This may have been their intention, and if it was, then "jolly well done you, chaps", but maybe it could have done with some more focus on the whole album listening experience thing, although Shuffle will urinate all over that particular bonfire at any time anyone desires. The Luddite in me wishes the album contained more of what alerted me in the first place, the muso applauds them for creating a work of such lofty ambition. I will watch with interest to see what they do next..and hopefully it won't be to write me a snotty e-mail.

Score 6.5 out of 11


  1. The youtube vids are all getting to be suspiciously good quality these days. Could it be 'company' approved is happening?

    Top sound too. Put me down for a ticket next time Ric, I think I'll probably like the bleepy dance stuff.

  2. Gosh! the first track is a bit loud.

  3. turn the volume down then dimwit