Is it possible to sound like a region? Beyond the obvious concept of spoken accents, it certainly is. Industry, history and even transport links can encourage certain musical sounds to breed. Simply look at Liverpool’s success at fostering colourful and vivid psychedelia thanks to its port granting quick access to the Americas (see The Beatles, The Teardrop Explodes). Or, consider Manchester’s rain-drenched industrial heritage inspiring the likes of Joy Division, The Smiths and The Fall. And of course, mid-70s London was the breeding ground for punk and the Midlands gave us British heavy metal.
With this musical geography in mind, it simply makes sense that Manchester-based Circus Wolves sound a bit like… Manchester. The band are made up of Guy Aled Wynn Davies (vocals), Jim Ker (guitar), Jack Taylor (guitar), Ben Dodson (bass) and Cameron Tetlow (drums).
The band met in Leeds over five years ago where they went under the moniker of ‘Plastic Rabbits’. During this time they achieved small-time success, with their singles being broadcast nationally on BBC Introducing. However, with an urge to carve out a different sound, the band reformed as Circus Wolves, named after their old recording studio.
Now based across the Pennines in Manchester, the band are making what can be described as melodic and dark indie rock. Their latest release, ‘Infamy’ is their most polished effort yet. The brooding bass lines manage to transport listeners back into a Thatcher-era concrete factory. Guy’s vocals have a hint of Morrissey-esque agony, with lyrics based around concept-style songwriting centred on themes of love, loss and alternate realities. All the while, the layered guitars evoke a sense of urgent optimism, and the drums maintain a powerful beat throughout.
The band members cite a wide range of musical influences, from blues and funk to indie and rock and roll. And they happily admit that by being a Manchester-based band, they tend to draw influences from their regional contemporaries. They name the likes of The Smiths, New Order and Elbow as their strongest musical influences, as well as bands from beyond the Greater Manchester border, including Pulp and The Strokes.
Speaking with vocalist Guy, he describes the Manchester music environment as a vibrant one: “It’s a good scene with a lot of up and coming artists, making for a lot of crazy shows.”
With their first headline show of the year to be held at Jimmy’s in Manchester later this month, we only expect them to add to the fever of it all.
To sum it up according to Guy: “We’re loud, intense and hopefully entertaining. Come and see us!”