We’ve heard some interesting reasons for people kicking off their music careers, but the strangest yet has to be Alastair Shaw telling us he joined a band because his ex-girlfriend visited a psychic, who then predicted he’d be successful in music.
Alistair is the guitarist in emerging Burnley formed, Manchester-based indie rockers The Breaks, and it’s safe to say they’re wasting no time in making the premonition come true. The band have only been together for around a year but have already recorded two EPs and played a series of gigs around Manchester.
As Alastair tells us: “I’ve always written songs but decided to try to do something with it when my then-girlfriend went to a psychic a few years ago and she was told I would be successful in music… Thought I’d give it a go.”
The result of that is a sound that Alastair describes to us as “Arctic Monkeys meets The Strokes meets The Cure with more fuzz and reverb.” And yep, it is as good as that sounds. They released second EP Trap Door at the end of March, which more than justifies this explanation.
It kicks off with a burst of fuzzy guitars in the lively intro to Masquerade. Chugging guitar riffs support quick vocals, then creeping guitars build into a big singalong chorus with really cool high-pitched guitars over the top. The opening fuzzy guitars return, then drop out for lone vocals “I’ve got my mask for the masquerade, To take part in your escapade, A thought that makes me sick for days, But don’t I fit right in?” then kick back in with a blast of fast-paced vocals “Forever working on my great escape, You’re my favourite type of waste-of-space, You got my falling down on aching knees, Fuck me, you make the bitter in my throat taste sweet.” Check it out in the video below:
My favourite track on the record is its title track Trap Door, which is just a brilliant song. It begins with light repeating guitars then bursts into life with a deliciously fuzzy riff, which drops down into the opening line “Tonight you’re looking right nice” and return through the rest of the verse “But I can’t tell if that’s the lights or the hangover, It’s like my brains been altered and I can’t think or focus at all.” High-pitched guitars then kick in as faster vocals take over with the brilliant lyrics “I don’t much care for your accusations or your insinuations, Love, you’re not that clever and your advice is wasted on me. Just in case you couldn’t see, I’m just as bad as all the rest, I’m just slightly better looking and much better dressed.”
A suspense-building riff comes in under the spoken chorus vocals “Cruel and unusual kind, Trap door straight to my mind, Witchcraft of the most macabre kind, Straight to my mind.” It ends on a funky little guitar riff that adds a delicious final touch. This is an absolute banger, it’s ridiculously catchy, the lyrics are brilliant and I love the relentless fuzzy guitars.
There’s less of the fuzziness through the rest of the EP, with more floaty high-pitched guitars throughout the laid back Call Out My Name, which bursts into life in a big singalong chorus.
While final track Smoke and Lasers begins with dreamy sounding intro, then a cool little guitar lick and a relaxing opening verse, which builds up to a cool chorus of “So chew me up, love and spit me out, Breathe me in and then just blow me out, I wanna make you twist and I wanna make you shout, No room for doubt, no fucking about.”
There’s an awesome line in the second verse “All you ever really wanted was quick sex and dirty texts and trading love for lust down by the bathroom steps” as the EP winds to a more chilled out ending.
We’re pretty excited by what we’ve heard from them and Alastair is keen for The Breaks to stand out amongst the current Manchester music scene. In his words: “The bigger bands around here seem very poppy and synth based, not really our style. The bands we’ve played with live have all been very tight live but I’m not sure where the songs are coming from – maybe we’re out of the loop.”
Trap Door is out now, and you can check it out on Bandcamp and Spotify. Alastair tells us “We’re perennially on the verge of changing our name to Lionel Shark,” but until then you can follow The Breaks on Facebook and Twitter.