Easter release Meander Lines on 30th March 2018 via Loose Faith. With a moniker more be-fitting with every release, Easter’s second album is another re-birth that builds on the energy and experimentalism of debut LP Innocence Man and the earlier Hob Talk EP to sculpt a far more coherent, ambitious and layered record.
Innocence Man was well received, called ‘an extraordinary listen’ by Folly Of Youth and a ‘remarkable feat’ amid a host of great reviews. The single ‘Somethin’ American’ made the XFM playlist, and ‘Never Me’ found an admirer of Tom Ravenscroft at BBC 6 Music. Yet following on from this success wasn’t straightforward. An album’s worth of material was recorded, only to be abandoned. One track did emerge from those sessions though and after it was shared online ‘How You Spend Yr Time’ quickly grabbed the attention of Huw Stephens at BBC Radio 1 who aired it on his discovery show.
Since recording Innocence Man, singer/guitarist Tom Long spent 2 years on the road as a multi-instrumentalist with LoneLady, promoting her second album for Warp, Hinterland, while drummer Andrew Cheetham has been in high demand, touring with Kiran Leonard, Jane Weaver, Irma Vep and a host of improv projects. The band regrouped last year for 2 days of intense recording at Eve Studios, Stockport with producer Karl Sveinsson (Gnod/Vanishing), and finished the record this summer at Queen’s Ark in Levenshulme.
The title sheds light on a difficult process, as Long reflects: ‘it’s an architectural term, when city planners design paths for people to walk, meander lines are the routes they often end up taking instead – shortcuts, cutting across spaces etc. These songs had a long gestation, which became this heavy transition period for me personally and for the band as well, and this seemed to be the perfect metaphor: the strands in your life and in your head that are constantly at work; they get tangled, they unravel, they break in unexpected ways. It also fits the arc of most of our songs, they tend to be heading in a certain direction… then they veer off’.
Easter songs blend disparate elements, as the face-melting guitar antics of Dinosaur Jr and Sonic Youth get pulled apart by slow-core Americana and the free-improv tendencies of Cheetham’s drumming. Gavin Clarke’s guitars weave an intricate patchwork over Long’s, while Rich Clarke’s driven bass playing gives the song’s energy and immediacy. The heaviness of their sound has seen them support White Hills, Rangda, Mugstar and Mono, and foster a reputation as one of the best live acts of the Manchester underground.
Featuring stellar players from said scene, with virtuoso multi-instrumentalist Dbh playing strings on several tracks, and the ethereal backing vocals of Tekla sprinkled throughout the record, Meander Lines has the scope and vision that could see the band meet a whole new audience.