British post-punk pioneers The Membranes have announced their upcoming European tour supporting Mark Lanegan in support of their new album ‘What Nature Gives… Nature Takes Away’, out now on Cherry Red Records, which has already drawn ‘best of the year so far’ accolades from press and radio outlets on both sides of the Atlantic. The band’s new opus is the brainchild of frontman, music journalist, author and media pundit John Robb, who has led Membranes in one form or another for close to 40 years.
This will be The Membranes most extensive ever touring schedule. A long-time supporter of John Robb and The Membranes, Mark Lanegan remixed the band’s 2015 track ‘Dark Energy’ and was one of the new album’s earliest enthusiasts, noting “this might be even better than ‘Dark Energy’, it’s fucking insane! Another masterpiece”.
The tour kicks off on November 11 in Copenhagen and runs through to December 18 in Belfast. It includes some auspicious UK dates including the band’s hometown at Manchester O2 and the legendary Roundhouse in London and over two dozen shows across Europe and the UK. The band will be headlining multiple UK dates ahead of touring with Lanegan.
The band also present their new psychedelic trip of a video for ‘What Nature Gives… Nature Takes Away’, the album’s title track, created in Berlin by Danielle de Picciotto and her husband Alexander Hacke of Einsturzende Neubauten.
About the new video, John Robb says, “Danielle really captures the theme of the song – which is about the transient nature of life and the beauty and cruelty of nature, the hunter and the hunted and the powerful erotic undertows that affect plants and animals! The album has been a game-changer for the band and is our most successful yet and is the favourite album of the year for the likes of Mark Lanegan who offered us his autumn tour of Europe which will be great as Lanegan is one of the small coterie of singers we are truly entranced by and a true punk rock spirit.”
Foreshadowed by the singles ‘A Strange Perfume’, ‘A Murmuration of Starlings on Blackpool Pier’ and ‘Black Is The Colour’, this dark and brooding double album features psychedelic post-punk soundscapes from the Manchester-based post-punk pioneers, who originally hail from Blackpool. This is their eighth studio album overall and the second since they reformed in 2010 when former support band My Bloody Valentine convinced them to return to the stage for the ATP festival.
‘What Nature Gives… Nature Takes Away’ is a diverse work with dark, brooding cinematic choir-driven songs about the beauty and violence of nature. With intriguing conceptual overtones, ambitious musical scope and contributions from the 20-piece BIMM choir, naturalist Chris Packham, punk icon Jordan, revered folk singer Shirley Collins and fellow post-punk veteran Kirk Brandon (Theatre Of Hate), the album has captured imaginations across the modern music spectrum. In the UK the band has received radio play and features from BBC 6 Music, including a Marc Riley session, while also charting with NACC in the USA and Canada.
The album was recorded at 6DB Studio in Manchester with Ding Archer, a former band member with PJ Harvey, The Pixies and producer of the last nine albums by The Fall. John Robb wrote all the parts for the choir. This release follows up their acclaimed album ‘Dark Matter/Dark Energy’, the band’s best selling release, which received rave reviews and ample radio play on BBC 6 Music and internationally.
Formed in 1978 in Blackpool, The Membranes played classic bass-driven northern post-punk and were part of the same world as bands like The Fall, Sisters Of Mercy, Echo and The Bunnymen and Cabaret Voltaire, all inspired by 1977 to launch their own idiosyncratic journeys. The band released a remarkable series of records that combined their small-town frustration with a love of heavy bass and distortion. This ultimately became a prime influence and the precursors to such American noiseniks as Steve Albini, Swans and Sonic Youth.
John Peel and music press favourites, a continual frenzy of releases, public acclaim and touring worldwide with national TV appearances, the band went on hiatus in 1990 until finally reforming in 2010.
The Membranes are Peter Byrchmore (guitar), Nick Brown guitar), Rob Haynes (drums), and John Robb (vocals and bass), a renowned TV and radio pundit, editor of Louder Than War, a key UK music site and national magazine, and curator of the Louder Than Words festival. In autumn, John Robb will also will release ‘The Art Of Darkness’, a book on the darker side of post-punk, adding to his collection of best-selling books on punk rock.
‘What Nature Gives … Nature Takes Away’ is available on vinyl and CD, and digitally everywhere, including iTunes and Spotify. There is also a deluxe double vinyl ultra-limited edition of 150 copies. Very soon, cosmetics company Lush will also be releasing a Membranes perfume called ‘A Strange Perfume’ after the album’s opening track. Tickets for upcoming tour dates can be found at http://bit.ly/31fBNtp.
1. A Strange Perfume
2. What Nature Gives … Nature Takes Away
3. A Murder of Crows
4. The City is an Animal (Nature Is Its Slave)
5. The 21st Century Is Killing Me
6. Deep In The Forest Where The Memories Linger
7. Black is The Colour
8. A Murmuration of Starlings on Blackpool Pier
9. Mother Ocean/Father Time
10. The Magical and Mystical Properties Of Flowers
11. Snow Monkey
12. Demon Seed/Demon Flower
13. The Ghosts of Winter Stalk This Land
14. Winter (The Beauty and Violence of Nature)
16. Pandora’s Box
TOUR DATES **implies Membranes dates without Mark Lanegan
Aug 02 Rebellion Festival, Blackpool, UK **
Sept 27 London, UK – The 100 Club (with Folk Devils & The Wolfhounds) **
Oct 11 Glasgow, UK – King Tuts Wah Wah Hut **
Oct 12 Aberdeen, UK – Krakatoa **
Oct 18 Preston, UK – The Ferret (with System of Hate & Ginnel) **
Oct 19 Carlisle, UK – The Brickyard **
Oct 25 Birmingham, UK – Hare & Hounds **
Oct 26 Norwich, UK – Norwich Arts Centre
Nov 02 Corby, UK – The White Hart **
Nov 11 Copenhagen, DK – Amager Bio
Nov 12 Oslo, NO – Vulkan Arena
Nov 13 Malmo, SE – KB
Nov 14 Stockholm, SE – Debaser
Nov 17 Berlin, DE – Colombia Theater
Nov 19 Warsaw, PL – Niebo
Nov 20 Prague, CZ – Lucerna Bar
Nov 21 Dresden, DE – Scheune
Nov 22 Schorndorf, DE – Manufaktur
Nov 24 Munich, DE – Strom Club
Nov 25 Budapest, HU – Durer Kert Main Hall
Nov 26 Zagreb, HR – Tvornica Kulture
Nov 27 Milan, IT – Fabrique
Dec 01 Lausanne, CH – Les Docks
Dec 02 Zurich, CH – Bogen F
Dec 03 Koln, DE – Essigfabrik
Dec 05 Turnhout, BE – De Warande
Dec 06 Hasselt, BE – CC Hasselt
Dec 07 Roeselare, BE – De Spil
Dec 08 Paris, FR – Le Trianon
Dec 10 London, UK – Roundhouse
Dec 11 Bristol, UK – SWX
Dec 13 Sheffield, UK – Leadmill
Dec 14 Edinburgh, UK – Liquid Rooms
Dec 15 Manchester, UK – Ritz
Dec. 17 Dublin, IE – Button Factory
Dec 18 Belfast, N. Ireland – Empire