As teenagers, my brother and I spent many a happy hour playing Championship Manager together. One player who always caught our attention was a Juventus midfielder named Jocelyn Blanchard, towards whom I distinctly remember shouting, in a high-pitched voice, “Joycelyn,” whenever he appeared on the screen.
Now, 20 years later, the emergence of Lancaster/Chesterfield-based band Blanchard evokes happy memories of a man who actually only spent one season at Juventus sandwiched between spells in France and, oddly, Austria. Luckily, the band – another exciting addition to the Society of Losers Records family – is much more interesting.
The trio of Jon (guitar, effects, noises) and Jack (guitar, dutty box building and vocals), who went to school together in Widnes, and Neil (drums, hooting and hollering), their friend for more than a decade, formed out of interesting circumstances.
As the band tell us: “Neil and Jack both had various different bands and Jon just wished he was in one. So when Jon got married, and subsequently two more of his siblings, he insisted on forming wedding bands to perform inappropriately loud covers – One Armed Scissor was in one of the sets! When that came to an end we all wanted to keep doing it and we’d meet up for jams sporadically over a couple of years until we realised we had some material and really this was a thing. We called it Blanchard.”
And that thing they call Blanchard you can expect noise, lots of loud noise. Their stoner noise rock sound is inspired by the likes of Shellac, Black Sabbath, Fugazi, Part Chimp and Melvins.
As the band put it: “Loud, loud and loud. We do have some quieter bits but if you’re coming to see us live then earplugs are a must. We sink our teeth into a heavy riff and take it from there, often ending in a pile-up of noise and feedback. Howls, growls and yelps accompanied by the odd smattering of actual singing.”
The latest instalment of this is Paintbrushes, which was released last month and is the first properly recorded Blanchard single. So with your first single why not do something wild, like a lot of spoken words and random vocals to open up a near-eight minute track?
Yeah, that’s what they did, with random lyrics “It takes so long to wash black paint out from a grey paintbrush, But it’s important to be thorough, This is not a job to rush, You don’t want any black blobs nestling at the bristles’ root, Or one day later in your life when you paint a shelf or maybe a door and you’re not using black no more, Those blobs will come back out again.”
That’s the cue for a burst of noisy guitar and a darting riff are supported by rolling drums then big booming guitars take over. A piercing high-pitched guitar solo takes over the second time around, culminating in huge fast-paced high notes. That then drops down into the cool spoken vocals again, which gives way to a mass of darting guitar chords under wild screams. Give it a listen below:
The band released their debut EP Familiar last year, which is chocked full of similarly awesome noisy rock. Salem’s Lot kicks it off with fuzzy guitar riffs and shouty vocals then a cheeky little guitar solo.
A personal favourite from the EP is Benedictine Funk, which opens up with a cool little riff and bursts of guitar chords. Random guitar noises come in alongside flitters of high-pitched guitar notes, which develop into a cool guitar solo. Check it out below:
On the track, the band tell us: “We’re super proud of it. It’s the first thing we’ve recorded in a real recording studio and we loved every second of it. The track itself is epic in every sense! Especially in its Bohemian Rhapsody beating length (best part of 8 mins). Considering it’s based on three notes and a spoken word piece which runs to about one minute, we’ve absolutely milked it for everything it’s worth.”
And if the sound of this isn’t enough to win you over then the topics they write about should. As the band explain: “We don’t write love songs – well, we haven’t yet and none of us are keen on the idea. Our debut EP familiar (self-released last March) was all about our cats – we’re all cat owners – or cats we have met.
“The single (Paintbrushes, we presume) is actually found lyrics. It’s a piece by bearded pod-wonder Adam Buxton which Jon spied – can you spy audio? – and he immediately believed it should be a song. Six months later and it was. Our next EP explores waste taking inspiration from Hundertwasser’s manifesto on waste: Holy Shit.”
Unlike their footballer namesake, there’s plenty to come from Blanchard. They’ve just wrapped a tour with labelmates Salt The Snail, our New Band of the Week from last week Mr Ted and Infants, and their second EP Holy Shit will be out later this year. You can also catch them playing two events: Auntie Austerity Feeds The Hungry Jamboree in Derby on 28 June then Loserpalooza II in Manchester on 7 September. More info on their gigs is here.