Manchester-based quirky rockers The Speed Of Sound have released their new album ‘Museum of Tomorrow’. Not coincidentally, this happened 32 years to the day when the band’s debut EP saw the light of day in 1989. This time around, their long-player is available on CD, as well as Deluxe LP, via California-based Big Stir Records. Today we present their latest audio-visual ‘exhibition’ called ‘Last Orders’. The video is as fun and ‘out there’ as the music itself – not a band to be mistaken for any other, The B-52s would perhaps come closer or perhaps another jolty post-punk outfit some of you may already know – Pylon. The parallels are there, but this music is new and welcome.

The Speed Of Sound, L R: Joh. Armstrong, Ann Marie Crowley, John Broadhurst, Henry Armstrong, Kevin Roache. Photo Credit Shay Rowan

The band, as it exists today, consists 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).

“At first, ‘Last Orders’ sounds like it is a drinking song about getting around in before the bar closes, but I was at the Stasi (the old East German secret police) Museum in Berlin and that got me thinking about the night the Berlin Wall came down and them furious shredding documents despite the State having collapsed and their job no longer having a purpose. That led me on to the Japanese soldiers in the mid-1970’s that were still unaware World War 2 had ended. The military has a concept of continuing with orders until new instructions are received. So Last Orders is about actual last orders. But then again, it could be a drinking song,” says John Armstrong.

“It is tripped-down and acoustic guitar-led, with additional backing vocals recorded individually around the world. Featuring a representative for every continent on the planet and assembled in a virtual room (Abbey Road Studio 3) to create a universal reverb and the sense of togetherness. An intercontinental night out in a pandemic. Come on, it’s last orders.”

Watch the video for “Last Orders” below:

Hailing from Manchester, The Speed Of Sound’s music is optimistic, but with lyrical bite, a punk-inspired DIY ethos and lust for experimentation rooted in psychedelia. Formed in 1989 with a pre-history dating back to the day Andy Warhol died in 1987, The Speed of Sound lies deep below the ‘music industry radar’, allowing for the evolution of their own distinctive sound and live act.

‘The Museum of Tomorrow’ is an exhilarating nonstop sensory indulgence. A low-altitude magic carpet ride at breakneck speed over the insanity of the early 21st century, drenched in Science-Fiction and retro-futurist-infused imagery and themes. Despite some dark subject matter, the lyrics are playful and as bright as coloured vinyl. This is the Museum Of Tomorrow – not a mere time-capsule or bleak survey of dystopian protest themes, but an immersive experience. Drunk with richness it hurtles on, twisting its many turns with subtlety; exhibiting mood, style and pace variance. The trajectory is laid in and the thrusters fire.

While The Speed of Sound has already released eight singles via Big Stir Records, ‘Museum of Tomorrow’ is an all-new experience, each song being single-worthy. Conceived as two seamless sides, the vinyl edition was mastered as two extended pieces – ‘Gallery One’ and ‘Gallery Two’. Korg synthesizer lines, reminiscent of classic Science Fiction incidental music, link the gapless songs.

The ‘Museum of Tomorrow’ LP is out now digitally, as well as on CD and limited-edition 170g heavy weight vinyl with a choice between black and glorious colour. Vinyl orders include a 16-page full-colour A5 printed Exhibition Guide containing lyrics, full-colour inner sleeve, a separate picture insert, a sticker, a pair of badges/buttons and a bookmark. Apart from platforms like Apple Music and Spotify, the LP can be ordered via Big Stir’s website. Now let’s give credit where credit is due. The Last Orders International Brigade Choir is:

  • Dolph Chaney – USA. Independent musician and vocalist also releasing via Big Stir Records.
  • Touanda – Brazil. Independent musician and vocalist with a wide stylistic range from indie to electro releasing on her own label.
  • Robby Allen – UK. Independent musician and vocalist. Mainstay of British cult band The Kite Collectors and Paisley Records.
  • Courtney Visser – South Africa. Independent musician and vocalist releasing on her own label. Her debut EP was released in 2018.
  • Chris Jack – Japan. Singer, songwriter and guitarist in cult Japanese garage-punk band The Routes; he has also recently released a solo album.
  • Sam Fisher – New Zealand. Independent musician and vocalist.
  • The stateless Albatross. Lonely wanderer of oceans. (Thanks to the British Antarctic Survey for the Albatross audio.)

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