Manchester always had an incredible history with the international music scene. We can go back to The Smiths, with Morrissey and Marr at the head, to Oasis, with Liam and Noel in guerrilla warfare ever since we met, to some Joy Division/New Order or even, with pop mixed in, to Take That. It’s incredible, and even more interesting, to enter the city and understand that all the artistic nuances that appear in each musical symbolism are, effectively, in the city.
And this week in the new EP article, we grab our bags, check-in at Lisbon airport, and, in less than three hours, arrive in Manchester. It’s time to introduce Blanketman, a band just starting their career in Her Majesty’s land. We leave the airport, punch our train ticket and, a few minutes later, arrive in Manchester Picadilly. Their debut EP is called National Trust. Can we convert National Trust into International Trust?
They started as a quartet, now they are five strong members. Five people trying to throw down their gauntlet: Adam Hopper as frontman, Daniel Hand with guitar and voice through his body, Jeremy Torralvo Godoy throwing sonorous riffs on his four strings, Ellie-Rose Elliott breaking it all down on drums and, spreading magic most recently, Shane Dickinson on keyboard.
The band met online. No secrets, no social networks to speak of: through a website ideal for the perfect setup between artists looking for others, the match came about. And there’s not much hassle along the way, so much so that the music they produce speaks for themselves.
Ah, but before we move on definitively to the record, we still have to solve the initial mystery surrounding the subtitle. The band’s name came about when Daniel was reading the book Blanket Protest, where political prisoners led by Kieran Nugent refused to wear the prison uniform. Instead, they covered themselves in blankets, earning the nickname ‘blanket men’. It was an instant-click for the band, going on to be called as…Blanketman.
We are back in Manchester, through Picadilly station. We walk, with headphones firmly in our ears and a boundless desire to make our way around the city.
The EP was recorded during the lockdown, with its highlights and less memorable ones. The reality? Twenty pure, multi-faceted minutes from the currently Manchester-based ensemble.
On this journey, we count seven stops, separated by twenty minutes. A short walk in Manchester, where we have a pine at The Refuge, and continue on to Printworks.
And we set off on this discovery with Beach Body. What an urge to jump and smile. It’s the punk we needed in our lives at this time. All together it gives us back the mystique of the best in the music industry.
From Beach Body to Leave The South, it’s two minutes and thirty-eight. The pace slows down, the punk style switches to indie-rock and the phrase “Leave The South” whispers in our ears endlessly. It’s pure, and it’s the best compliment we can give.
Harold, the longest song, unfolds the vocal cords in a unique symbiosis with the instruments each artist produces. And as with the other two songs, we get a sense of a chameleon effect: it’s only one EP, but we already have three different strands that could perfectly well be linked to different records.
We can all agree that Dogs Die In Hot Cars, but it’s in this soft mood that we feel the more mature version of Blanketman. The beat recalls the early days of the Arctic Monkeys and the vocal power would make Paul Banks from Interpol blush.
Blue Funk is groovy, and asks for a little dance foot to anyone who approaches it.
And almost finishing, we have National Trust, which gives the EP its name and is the shortest song on it, summed up in just one minute and fifty-three. Easy and convincing entrance, with a frenetic rhythm from beginning to end.
For the last song, The Tie. If we wanted to close with a golden key, here we have it. Well-composed lyrics, innovative beats, and two minutes and thirty-three of beautiful pleasure. For moments, I felt a mixture between Ian Curtis, from Joy Division, and Paul Smith, from Maxïmo Park. And it is by these so distinct traits that Blanketman will make history.
About the Band – Q&A with Blanketman
We end up the Blanketman movement with five quick questions for the band:
[WtMM] How would you introduce Blanketman for a newcomer?
Restless – legged rock and/or roll group from Manchester.
‘National Trust’ is the first EP from Blanketman. How would you describe it?
The National Trust EP is a snapshot of the bands time spent in lockdown, Its anxious but cautiously optimistic.
What are the band’s biggest inspirations?
The everyday, daytime telly, and the pub.
Ten years from now, where would you imagine the band to be?
Married with three beautiful children.
To finish off, with one word, how would you describe the band?
The WtMM team would like to give a special thanks to the band and Jay Taylor for the opportunity.
Blanketman may be new to the music scene, but National Trust are the most mature version possible of a band taking their first steps. From England to Portugal, National Trust has definitely become International Trust.
Listen to the full EP: