Hey You is available via:
17th October, 2017
The E.P., I Would Be So Much Happier If I Just Stopped Caring, is available here:
30th October, 2017
Hey You + Not My Fault
Recorded at: Northbourne Centre, Didcot / Marlboro House, Manchester
Production: Sam Jones / False Advertising
Engineering: Sam Jones
Mixing: Chris Warr / Sam Jones
Recorded at: Abbey Road Studios, London / Marlboro House, Manchester
Production: Sam Jones / False Advertising
Engineering: Sam Jones
Mixing: Chris Warr
I Think I Got My Wish
Recorded at: Low Four Studio, Manchester
Production, Engineering and Mixing: Brendan Williams and Jamie Birkett
It’s Been A While (So Sick)
Recorded at: AOO Studio, Hull
Production, Engineering and Mixing: Pat Pretorious on behalf of Warren Records
ONE of my drives going forward…
is to promote more female musicians. Before I come to look at False Advertising; I want to discuss gender balance in music - and how there is a misalignment right now. In addition; topics such as Manchester’s music and bands doing things their own way; the need for music that stands out and defines the year; how much needs bands that can endure and continue to evolve; the importance of live performances and building songwriting quality – music that nods to the past and creates a sense of nostalgia and reminiscence. When thinking about False Advertising, I am impressed by the lead strength of Jen Hingley. She is someone who puts her all into music and has a magnetic connection to the audience. I have seen clips of the band perform live and there is a real draw to her. More than that; she is someone who is a unique voice and a fantastic figurehead. Maybe it is not something that compels their determination and focus but one cannot help notice how much female artists/bands struggle compared to their male peers. What I notice, when looking for reviews and interviews, is the number of male acts that come through. It is quite annoying discovering so many men being promoted ahead of females. P.R. agencies and labels are mainly responsible for this. On their books; they have an equal number of men and women so I must ask why it is they choose to focus so heavily on the boys?! Maybe they think they’re more commercial or are responding to decades of imbalance in the industry. The only way to reverse the policy is to start putting women/female-led acts in the forefront. There are some great female-based acts in the mainstream but I worry there is still too sexism happening in music. We need to get out of this mindset and stop assuming how we did things in the past is how we should do things now. Maybe there is an assumption it would be a hard transition period proffering too many female acts – risking the commercial dominance and status quo. Music will not crumble if we put men and women on an equal footing.
False Advertising do not make gender roles and sexism a part of their routine but it cannot escape their view there is a problem in the industry. With Hingley at the centre of the trio; False Advertising have an incredible female voice and talent. I am discovering a lot of great female-led acts who have the potential to be a big deal in years to come. I am worried the likes of False Advertising have to strike harder – and play more gigs – to get the same attention as their peers. One of the issues I have with the male dominance is how uninteresting and samey things get. It has been a long time since a male act got into my mind. I am consciously going after female artists for reviews because they, in my view, produce the most interesting music – and have the best backstory. With False Advertising; there is a deep and solid friendship that would be far less appealing if it were all guys. Having Hingley alongside Chris Warr and Josh Sellers means False Advertising are a lot more engaging, varied and fascinating. Not that all-male bands are boring but acts are strongest when they mix gender and styles. I am not sure what one can do about sexism in music but, if the past few weeks have shown anything, all across the entertainment industry, there are issues percolating. It is not good enough standing aside and assuming things are okay as they are: they are pretty bad and need addressing. One way of ensuring things get on a level plain is promoting and augmenting artists like False Advertising. I will move on but feel female artists/led acts should not have to struggle and campaign harder than the men. I will continue to lend my voice but the music industry needs to do better and attack the problem at grassroots levels.
One of the other things that stuns me about False Advertising is how they have taken the unsigned route. Many artists are desperate to get their signature on a contract and let a label dictate their course. It is a temptation that is hard to refute. Most of the greatest acts of all time have either been approached by a label or have chased one themselves. That is the way music always was but, with so many new artists working outside the mainstream, this is changing. It is amazing to see how music has changed over the decades. Even as recently as the end of the 1990s; we did not have a wave of acts who worked away from the mainstream. The artists we heard on the radio were signed and made it into the studio because there was a commercial demand. More artists are working in the underground and many are doing things on their own. It can be expensive footing all the responsibilities but one of the main reasons False Advertising took the unsigned route is the fact they exert their own control. One of the biggest assets of a record label is they can provide gigs and work for artists; they can get songs onto radio and deal with promotion. I guess that is the conundrum when you think about the merits and negatives of a record deal. False Advertising are getting their work out there but one wonders whether a label would help get it international and spread the word. It is an ethical conundrum whether you go with a label or do things your own way. For False Advertising; their releases have all been self-produced and they have carved a career how they see fit. I wonder whether this will change soon enough – and they sign with someone in 2018 – but there is a lot to be said for the self-sufficient artists. The likes of NME have included False Advertising as one of their five Manchester acts to watch – I shall come onto that. It is a big time for them and, with a single and E.P. out there, more eyes and ears are trained their way.
The music industry is in a bit of a confused state right now. There are issues like sexism and racism one that should have been temporised and limited years ago. In terms of the quality of the music; it is hard getting a grip with so many different acts playing in all manner of avenues – it is impossible handling it all and getting a real sense of what is going on. Whilst the best of the mainstream do not have the same effect and promise as the legendary artists of the past; I feel the sea of unsigned/underground musicians are providing some fascinating sounds. This is especially true of False Advertising who have managed to progress from a promising and hungry act (at the start) to a trio who are pushing themselves and evolving by the release. They have the backing of fans and venues but it is their natural intuition and skill that had led them where they are. I can see the appeal of remaining independent. The guys would have the chance to make the sounds they want and not be pushed towards commercial ideals. I wonder how 2018 will pan out and whether they are looking overseas for gigs. There is a world out there for False Advertising but there are ways of getting the music out there and not having to go with the biggest record label around. Perhaps they could align with a P.R. company and, rather than be told what to record and how to produce their music, have someone who could take care of the gigs and get the music to a wider remit. It is an ethical debate the trio are not going to be kept awake by this predicament but I am confident False Advertising will get their music out there in the coming year. The way they are doing things now is brilliant – and they have amassed a loyal fanbase – but it will not be long until their music is attracting the seduction of big labels. Whilst I want them to progress and build; I am concerned the lure of big money/labels could lead them astray. They will never succumb to such an easy treat because False Advertising’s musical brilliance is down to their own direction and D.I.Y. aesthetic.
I mentioned NME ran a feature regarding Manchester bands. The fact False Advertising are among the patriotic group of five means the music is touching the hearts of some big publications. Among the other artists included is Pale Waves, Layfullstop; IAMDDB and Bugzy Malone. The city has always been a bubbling cauldron of creativity and promise. From the 1980s and growing scene there – the ‘Madchester’ rise and time of bands like Joy Division before that – there have been so many terrific Manchester acts making their mark on the music scene. I have never visited the city myself but am aware of the music coming out of there. As a massive fan of artists like The Smiths; I have been following the Manchester scene for decades now. Oasis were, perhaps, the last legendary act to come from the city. That is not to say there has been an absence of genius stemming from Manchester. False Advertising have the potential to be one of the biggest acts out of Manchester in decades. Their path is already promising so it cannot be long until the world’s media heralds their music. What I envisage is the trio progressing from independent/local heroes to worldwide success in a matter of years. That development might take a lot of grit but they have shown their work ethic and sense of determination. They have a brilliant city in which to develop and craft their sounds. Not only do they have the some of the best venues around: the local support they get and will be recipients of is immense. There are so many other artists around them who will give them impetus and purpose. Maybe Manchester has advantages over somewhere like London. For one, there is more space and a less crowded environment. This comparative lack of stress and hustle provides an open and more hospitable atmosphere for artists to do their work. The spirit and humour of the people is inspiring and few can deny the magic and pull of the city. I am sure the guys have no plans departing anytime soon. The gigs they are getting means there is a reputation and demand in Manchester. Their colleagues are providing great music and it seems like the city is fighting to regain some of its status and stature.
London is getting all the credit and many forget how brilliant the music of Manchester is. Perhaps that is the media’s fault – assuming all the best music is from the capital – but the best and brightest acts from Manchester are waging war. People assuming, if you live outside of London, it is harder to get the music to the attention of stations land corporations like BBC – those who exert the biggest influence. The only way we can reverse the dominance of London – and the way it is seen as the hub for all great music – is to put more focus on areas like Manchester. The city is alive and fertile right now. I am seeing a huge mass of terrific musicians come through. Unlike areas outside of London; musicians are remaining in Manchester and do not feel the need to relocate. That shows the city has opportunity and is a safe haven for its artists. I am excited seeing how Manchester expands and grows over the years. The same way there is sexism in the music industry: do we need to tackle the geographical imbalance and the comparative lack of love Manchester is afforded. The city speaks to me because there is that sense of community and coming together. It is a wonderful place to foster and develop music: unsurprisingly False Advertising seem to so rooted there. We need to get away from the London dominance and start embracing cities like Manchester. False Advertising are among (if not) the best from that part of the country. Another reason they blow me away is the way they keep changing and improving their music.
I am a fan of their earliest singles but, on their E.P., I Would Be So Much Happier If I Just Stopped Caring, they have taken their music to new heights. The title might be a wordy thing but the songs contained within are punchy and concise. One gets a real sense of professionalism and treasure from the band. Hey You starts proceedings and sets the tone for the E.P. It is a boisterous and Grunge/Pop collection that will resound with those who are attached to False Advertising’s earliest work. What one notices is the new strands and calmer aspects. There is more introspection and emotion from the trio but they have not compromised their fire and desire. One still gets the same fuzz and lust as witnessed on their earliest pressings. Back then, when they first started out, there was that need to get into the consciousness and provide urgency. Now, having accrued respect and reputation; there is that luxury afforded to them. The band have not thrown away their dynamic and core but have integrated new colours and possibilities. One of the big things about the new E.P. is how the production still has that raw and edgy sound but the songs are more colourful, engaging and nuanced. This year has seen some great albums come through but most of the best work has been produced by solo artists. From Benjamin Clementine, Baxter Dury and Lucy Rose: there are few band-made records challenging for the top positions on the end-of-year lists. I am not sure why this is but it seems like the demand for bands is not what it used to be. False Advertising are a trio so one wonders whether the established four-piece is waning?! I am seeing some great duos and trios emerge and change music. I still feel the solo artists is at the top of music’s tree but, with artists like False Advertising producing stunning music, that will give guidance to fellow trios. This year has been a bit lean for band triumph in the mainstream – Wolf Alice one of few exceptions – so I wonder whether 2018 will change that?
PHOTO CREDIT: Urszula Kochanowska
Before I move on to False Advertising’s new single; it is worth examining how they keep adding new layers to their music and strengthening their foundations, With each round of gigs, they guys grow bigger and more confident. There is an intrinsic link between regular performance and songwriting strength. The trio seem more confident in the studio and are pushing their music because of that. In another way, they are thinking about live performances and bringing new elements to it. The fans love something sweaty and instant but they are open-minded enough to see the volume come down a bit and something a little lighter work in the set. The only way we are going to create a legacy and stick with artists is if they do things their own way and keep their music ever-moving. That might sound like a big ask but the demand and competition is high. False Advertising are not sitting back and letting other people shift their music for them. They are getting out there and committing to their careers. Hey You is, perhaps, the best and most memorable song from them and I would expect another L.P. come through next year. I might be wrong but I sense a real determination and prolific desire come out. I expect this to build as the months go on – a big explosion is just around the corner. The guys are among the best acts in the U.K. and have that incredible live reputation. It is the respect they gain from the stage that has led them to some big radio stations. From the BBC and London stations; to local sources and further afield – a band whose music is stunning listeners around the country. One of the reasons I have been so engrossed in music – more so than I usually do – is the links it has to my past. The reason so many of us prefer music of the past is because of its purpose and place in our formative years. The earliest memories and experiences we have are scary and quite transformative. Music is an integral part of that time, and so, when we move on in life; music is not quite as potent and majestic. I am finding this and seeking out songs that tie me to the earliest days.
In modern music, there are not that many acts who manage to remain fresh and contemporary whilst taking my mind back to my childhood/teenage years and provoking memories. That is not the case with False Advertising: I listen to their music and, for some reason, I am transported back to that time. Maybe it is their love of the Grunge and Rock masters but there is something in the music that unlocks memories, safety and pleasure. That happiness one elicits from nostalgia can be a dangerous thing. Harking back to the past can bog a person down and mean they cannot move forward and see positivity in the future. If one gets the twinge of childhood from new music then that is a satisfying and healthy blend. False Advertising are a progressive and modern band so it is not like I am stubbornly living in the past. Instead; I get a real whiff of my childhood years and align myself with a trio who are very much of the moment. A reason I have been cold with modern music is how it lacks the soul, feel and longevity of the classic acts. It is very modern and instant; the songs are built and constructed for the modern market – it lacks that real quality and sense of nuance. Maybe that is inevitable and understandable but I wonder whether music has come too far. By that, I mean things are too in the moment and modern. Acts do nod to the past but there is something lack and disingenuous. I am hard to please so maybe it is just as well we still have music from the past to keep in the memory – mixing that with great modern artists is a good balance. I Would Be So Much Happier If I Just Stopped Caring is an E.P. that takes me back to 1990s Rock and Grunge coming through the decade. I get fizzy Pop moments and some whispers of my childhood. It is a satisfying brew that casts my mind back and provides a real sense of embrace and nostalgia.
The strings have a sort of restraint and calm to them – in a way, they remind me of the opening moments of Foo Fighters’ song, These Days. Hey You has a sense of mystery and questioning to it. Our heroine looks around the room and asks the heroine/hero – one suspects the former – what they are doing with their hair. Maybe there is playfulness or sense of nerves that is getting into the senses. The words look at a sense of delusion and struggle. Some of the lyrics do get weighted under the composition – the comprehension not quite as strong as one would hope – but one detects a real sense of struggle and conflict through the track. Our heroine seems aghast and in need of clarity. The song’s video sees the trio in an office preparing for a bike ride/event. There is a sense of boredom an fatigue as they plan something freeing against the mundane monotony of the workaday life. That seems to be something that runs through the song. Perhaps dreams are being formulated and there is that thirst to achieve something bigger and make strides in life. The heroine’s voice ranges from spiked and intense to softer and more investigative. In the verses; there is that build-up and desire to break free. The chorus does not have the same swagger and bite as previous songs: there is a lot more melody and a stripped-back approach on Hey You. The chorus talks about the impossible and trying to imagine something better. Throughout the track, I got the impression – although it spoke about another person – there was a personal dynamic. There is a strength within the band and, whilst there are obstacles and boundaries, they are not going to be confined. The title, to me, suggests a proclamation of realisation and reformation. We have all been in the position when we have struggled against reality and the limitations of everyday life.
I feel False Advertising are taking from their own experiences and a limitation they have faced – the need to break free and embrace desire. In the video, we see the intrepid trio on their bikes and peddling the streets in search of adventure. It is a charming and child-like emancipation from the monotone shackles of the office environment. The composition puts subtle twangs and cutting riffs from Grunge together with the more elliptical pleasures of Pop. It is a vibrant and interesting brew that interweaves genres and balances between quiet and loud. The dynamic is exemplified in the chorus which sees embers of 1990s Grunge and Punk mixes with all manner of sounds. It is a rich and satisfying blast that brings together girl bands and acts of the 1980s with some modern-day Indie acts. The heroine is afraid and has mettle in her heart. It is interesting seeing that switch from third and first-person in the song’s narrative. To me, there is a sense of self-examination and getting out of a rut – hard to imagine breaking through and making things better. Maybe I have got things the wrong way around but everyone will get their own impressions from the song. It is a confident and assured blast from the trio and a song that departs from some of their earlier work. It has more melody and colour but it still retains their spiked heels and sense of attack. The chorus has that classic and instant appeal – something that could have been created by one of the best bands of the 1990s. The heroine is not an illusion or a mannequin: she is real and has her own mind and imagination. It is fascinating conspiring and imagining how personal the song is. It seems there is a sense of defiance and rebellion that runs deep. A declaration to anyone who has suffered slight and a knocking of their abilities – this is a clarion and wake-up that can see them succeed. Maybe, again, I am hearing what I want to but there is a sense of castigating doubters and embracing something meaningful throughout the song. In any case: it is a stunning song from a trio growing stronger and confident with each song they release.
I Would Be So Much Happier If I Just Stopped Caring houses Hey You, Not My Fault; Honest and It’s Been a While (So Sick) – I Think I Got My Wish a new song among the throng. Many people will recognise the material on the E.P. but everything hangs together wonderfully. I know the trio are gigging at the moment and doing as much press as they can. One knows they will be a big success in 2018 but, already, they have a great base behind them. The fans are responding and more radio stations are reacting to their music. I know 2018 is a big year for them because they will look to step to the next area of their career. I expect there will be international dates and some big festivals slots. It is a big moment for them and, with a new E.P. out there, they have the opportunity to bring their music to new audiences. Let’s hope they do get some foreign gigs and manage to travel through Europe and the U.S. I think the American/Canadian market is pivotal for them and one they should get involved with. Perhaps money is a little slender but, with some scrimping, they could make it happen. The Manchester musical scran is delicious and fulfilling right now. The three friends of False Advertising are on a clear path and are shaping up to be one of this country’s biggest acts. I know they will have a triumphant 2018 and claim new glory. I Would Be So Much Happier If I Just Stopped Caring is a fantastic work from the guys and one that will get a lot of love from overseas. I would love to see them head to the U.S. – they have played there before – and do more regular gigs in other countries. I shall end this by imploring people align themselves to the Manchester act and spend more time in the city. It is alive and teeming with energy and possibility. The music coming from the northern city is brewing something hot and steaming. There is variation and wonder we should all ingratiate ourselves with. False Advertising are leading the charge and blossoming into a sensational act. Hey You is a prime example of how brilliant…
THE young trio really is.
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