I Am Blackbird – This Town EP

Posted on May 4, 2010

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written for High Voltage

I Am Blackbird are Manchester’s finest new music act and this week sees the release of their long-awaited debut EP ‘This Town’. It is a breathtaking collection of songs that should act as a catalyst for the band to go on and achieve great things. Unquestionably the best live act in Manchester, I Am Blackbird now have an outstanding 4 track recording to prove their excellence.

Recorded at Moulah Rouge Studios, and produced by Stephen Fretwell and Jay Sikora, the songs that comprise the disc are layered with brilliance. Jonny Baldwin, lead singer and guitar player, provides a powerful vocal on every track, which proves he has the capacity to become a real force in music. He is by no means alone in terms of exhibiting quality, with each member of the band displaying their significant talents. They write memorable songs and play them with skilled precision and they are capable of making a big impact in the coming months.

The disc opens with title track ‘This Town’, containing a cracking chorus and killer bass line, it offers a disparaging view of life in run-down suburban towns and allows Baldwin to demonstrate his considerable lyrical nous, with a clever piece of social commentary that will resonate with many people. What is different from other bands who attempt lyrics such as this, is that Blackbird set their social musings to timeless music, ensuring it won’t sound trite in a year’s time. Indeed, their ability to transcend modern tendencies is the band’s most extraordinary feature, suggesting longevity and greatness. At a time when much music produced seems incapable of standing the test of time, I Am Blackbird are offering ageless songs.

‘Setting Sun’ is a phenomenal track, with a deceptively low-key verse building into one of the most explosive songs you are likely to hear. Charlie Garson’s groovy drums underpin proceedings, and when the band are in full flight it creates a spectacular sound. ‘One Good Reason’ deals with a sinister, Femme Fatale character, and it is a mesmerising affair, containing a superb performance from Ben Price on bass. You have to go a long way to find a bass player of his abilities and this song is his finest display on the EP. Finally, ‘They Don’t Speak For Me’ brings proceedings to a thrilling end, with a dynamic arrangement set alight by superb Morricone-esque trumpet riffs. Baldwin’s vocal on this track is sparkling, indicative of his superb technical ability. His range is also very impressive, from deep, bluesy crooning to exhilarating falsettos; he possesses great variety. Every single track on this EP contains a fantastic chorus and plenty of energy, helping to craft an instantly likeable piece of work.

When I Am Blackbird released their debut single a few months back, Piccadilly Records announced that they are “easily a match for ‘next-big-thing’ contenders Mumford & Sons and the like.” Well, that was just about the understatement of the year because the truth is that I Am Blackbird are far superior to any of the whimsical folk bands out at the moment. They are carving out their own style, built around the inspiring passion and energy that Baldwin exudes, and they are a cut above the opposition. Expect them to push on and become Manchester’s next big success story.

‘This Town’ EP is available Friday 7th May, with a launch party at Night & Day Cafe, Manchester. Tickets are priced at £5 and are available from Piccadilly Records or the venue itself.

Track Listing

  1. This Town
  2. Setting Sun
  3. One Good Reason
  4. They Don’t Speak For Me

Sam Ellis Photo

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Posted in: Music