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Listen to the Spacious Pop of Manchester Indie Rock Ensemble The Speed of Sound’s New Album “A Cornucopia: Minerva”

Hailing from Manchester, The Speed of Sound is a band composed of father and son John Armstrong (guitars and vocals) and Henry Armstrong (keyboards), Ann-Marie Crowley (vocals and guitar), Kevin Roache (bass guitar), and John Broadhurst (drums).

With an eclectic style that defies easy classification, The Speed of Sound draws from their roots in 1960s music, punk, and new wave, blending these influences into a dynamic and varied sound. Their music is an adventurous blend of experimentation, catchy hooks, melodic sensibility, sharp wit, and lyrical depth, all infused with a sense of joy.

The Speed of Sound is irrepressible and uplifting, continuously producing music filled with optimism and lyrical sharpness. They embody the DIY ethos of punk and the experimental spirit of psychedelia. Formed in 1989, with origins tracing back to the day Andy Warhol died in 1987, their music is idiosyncratic and ever-evolving, always seeking new horizons.

Now, marking their 35th anniversary, the indie rock psychonauts unveil a new album: A Cornucopia: Minerva. Named for the goddess of wisdom, the arts, and strategic warfare, this album delves into themes of resistance against mainstream cultural dominance, celebrating individual identity and artistic creativity. It’s a spirited musical homage to subcultural existence amidst a predominantly bland pop culture landscape.

With the album’s release The Speed of Sound also presents the video for Trickledown. Trickledown economics, the idea that tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations will benefit all by stimulating investment and job creation, has long been debated. Critics argue it exacerbates income inequality, as wealth tends to accumulate at the top, failing to reach lower-income individuals. Proponents claim it encourages economic growth and benefits everyone. In today’s society, the growing wealth gap and economic disparities highlight the contentious impact of trickledown policies on broader social and economic structures.

“This could easily have been a traditional angry punk song, but gentle smoothness fits the soothing lie behind the Theory,” says John Armstrong. “I find the concept of Trickledown Economics bizarre. The idea of everyone owing their economic wellbeing to the existence of the mega-rich is pure sleight of hand fantasy; that they have amassed so much stashed away itself demonstrates it isn’t reaching further down. The stanza borrowed from Shelley’s Masque Of Anarchy (1819) in the middle section shows the general situation hasn’t changed in 200 years.”

Here, the band reveals another side with a delicately haunting and spacious sound, characterized by a soft-hued tonal palette enriched with just the right amount of reverb. Trickledown presents a subtly expressed and quietly understated critique of economic theory, wrapped in a smooth, silk-like ballad. The harmoniously mellow and hypnotically absorbing experience feels like fireworks in slow motion, with lyrics that contrast sharply, cutting through the gentle melody with precision.

The album kicks off with an 80s radio pop-style bang, showcasing buoyant guitar-driven rhythms and the dual vocals of West Wind. It continues onward, seamlessly through the acoustic guitar-driven groove of SS-100-X, the spacious iridescence of Eight Fourteen Monday, the lively ascendence of The Party Sniper, the glowing radioactivity metaphor of Half-Life to the bright uplifting dementia and identity-loss focused Mind Palace. While the bouncing vibe of Bodysnatchers reminds us to stay awake and not slip into the drabness of normalcy, the crunching melodic punch of Clickbait zings into the typewriter introduction of Yet Another Tuesday, onwards to the punkifed rhythm and blues of So Faux and the closing acoustic riot of Question Time.

As of May 24, A Cornucopia: Minerva is available for streaming everywhere. It will also be released on CD and vinyl via Big Stir Records.

Order Here 

Watch the video for The Great Acceleration here:

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Alice Teeple

Alice Teeple is a photographer, multidisciplinary artist, and writer. She is not in Tin Machine.

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