19 Mar 2013

**NEW** EP review of Champagne for the People @Dukeanddarlings

I reviewed this band last year, check out the review of their first EP here, and have been eagerly awaiting their latest EP. If you follow them on Twitter you make think that they are more about the ale than the music but I think you’ll find they have a happy blend of both, having coined the phrase ‘aleternative music’.

As if to prove this very point they have produced an enjoyable 4-track EP on their own label Sweet, Sweet Records which will be released on Friday 22nd March 2013 and will be available on iTunes and Spotify.

This second EP from the band, formed in 2011, demonstrates how a band can grow musically together and they seem to have settled into a groove. This EP showcases a much more mature and natural sound from these guys.

The track listing is in this order:

1. Love's Labour's Lost
2. Whiter Than White
3. Don't Need To
4. Walk Away

Below is my track listing in order of preference, bear in mind that I have reshuffled this so many times as they are all good. The only thing wrong with this EP is that it’s not an album! I need more please. I can only imagine how good the album is going to be based on this EP. I recommend you check out their music if you haven’t already and if you have then this is a must have for your collection.

1. Walk Away
2. Whiter Than White
3. Love’s Labour’s Lost
4. Don’t Need To

Now what kind of review would it be if I didn’t ask them some questions? Carrying on from the first review…

You mentioned last August that you would be doing free gigs in Manchester, what made you decide to do this? And do you think this has contributed to a more relaxed and natural sound? And how many have you done to date? Will you continue?
The Ale-ternative nights, our free monthly shows, have been truly successful, both in that they have attracted some truly brilliant acts (check out the listings on our Facebook page) but most importantly that they uphold our integrity. We are not anti-promoters, per se, as often they can provide acts with the skills and experience necessary, but certainly we have been frustrated by some of the nights they have hosted in the past: taking money from friends; bands on a bill being musically incongruous; mid-week shows; lack of genuine interaction with bands and media alike. The nights are free entry as we take the hit, and the acts are mutually encouraging: we compere each night to ensure that each band is introduced and made to feel welcome; after all, we have manners.

March saw Ale-ternative #4 at the uber-cool pub The Castle Hotel in Manchester’s hip Northern Quarter; we have five more shows booked there until Summer. Come August, we would love to host an Ale-ternative show at a micro-brewery, as they seem to be the unsigned bands of the beer world, but this is very much a star in the sky.

We are delighted with how they have taken off so far, and certainly we play better on the night as you know that there is no obligation within the room, for supporters and performers alike, and that everyone is there because they want to. The ales may help, too, but there is no scientific research into this as of yet.

Last time we discussed a flash mob and you said you had been working on one (possibly not seriously), but you made mention to a song that you perform live called Momma Fle, did you consider putting this on the EP for those of us who can’t get up to Manchester to see you live?
The flash mob is on the back-burner for no reason in particular. Maybe we have a stronger online presence than when we first conjured the idea; we have certainly explored many different means of promotion, with the flash mob still a good thought. We expect it to be stolen by whoever is reading this.

We do wonder whether we should record our live sets to share, but being perfectionists we tend not to. Maybe we should relax more. Maybe we could record the whole Ale-ternative night and host online gigs. We expect this idea to be stolen also by whoever is reading this. But with regards to Momma Fle, they simply don’t make computers powerful enough to record that song in its entirety, or capture the essence of its ironic thrust; we only dabble in it live, really.

There were aspirations to have the EP out by Christmas, was it delayed due to not being able to choose a name? And what were the best ones you didn’t use? And why Champagne for the People?
Ironically, the EP was recorded for those that listen to our music in far-flung places, but only have access to the three songs we recorded: the delay probably left them sick of those songs and they have now lost interest, just in time for the EP release! The delay itself was just circumstance, the juggling of variables, karma...one does not rush karma, that’s sort of the point: we don’t feel like we have missed any boat, though. We promised each other after recording in March that we would not leave it so long again.

We must have created one hundred distinct EP titles. At least. ‘Loiter’ stuck for a long time. ‘Champagne of the People’ was the first suggestion and we couldn’t better it. For the record, most of those hundred possible titles were, shall we say, inspired and not very good. But we’re happy with the title; it rings bells with our ethos and is suitably charming.

For the first EP you had a trailer for it, you don’t have one this time, but what about a music video? Is that something in the pipeline and for any particular track?We had a mini-documentary arranged, which was exactly to explore the pride and/or pretention of unsigned music, but the producer postponed it very late on, unfortunately, due to personal reasons. He is still a good lad, and we understand why it didn’t happen then. A music video will occur if the EP is well-received; unsigned bands have a backwards alchemy, you know. ‘Whiter Than White’ is a favourite of ours, and always gets a lively response. Although it’s a song about divorce, it is quite empowering, and this would probably transpose well into a video.

When is your next gig?
Our next gig is Ale-ternative #5 on Friday 19th April. We have the fantastic Mog Stanley opening proceedings, we are on second with the headliners not able to reveal themselves until they come home from a national tour. Fancy it?

Ok, who in Manchester has a sofa I can sleep on? Lol! Check out the EP on Friday to avoid disappointment and see you at the gig...:D

Don't forget to follow/like them here:
Listen to their first EP on Spotify & buy it here.

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