TRACK REVIEW: The Lottery Winners - That’s Not Entertainment



The Lottery Winners


That’s Not Entertainment





The track, That’s Not Entertainment, is available via:


Manchester, U.K.




9th November, 2018


ONE topic that springs up when I review a rising act...


is the need for more information and input! This is the only constructive criticism I have regarding The Lottery Winners but they are rising and need to take it to heart. I will mention bands from the North and why Manchester always thrives; bands that can rule and have had that backing; great chemistry in the ranks and how that aids the music; unusual influences and why I welcome that – I will end by looking at the future for The Lottery Winners and how this year will go. To start with, I want to see more artists give more information to their fans. There is a school of thought that says, if you are new, there is not much to give and you want to let the music fill in the blanks. I admit that the music needs to guide and do the lifting but journalists and fans still like to know where someone comes from and what music they are inspired by. When reviewing Sharon Van Etten yesterday, I had a press release attached and it gave me a lot to go from. I know she is a big artist but anyone can assemble a pack that talks about a song’s background and how the band/act came together; where they hope to head and some personal background. It is not too revealing providing some information regarding where you are from and what you are about. I pitched an interview to The Lottery Winners but they never got back so do not have insight and revelation I can put into the review. Given a lot of reviews are just simple and short pieces, I feel more musicians need to think about providing something substantial and helpful. In the case of The Lottery Winners, they have great reviews we can see on their social media but what of the guys themselves? I would like to hear about their start and how songs come together; a bit about inspiration and how songs come to them.


I love their music but do not have a lot of other information to build a review around. It is a problem that affects a lot of artists and I can understand why some would want to hold stuff in reserve. If you are too bold and wordy then it means people have that impression and do not value the music the same way. There is middle-ground where you can provide some information for fans and the media and still allow the music to do the bulk of the work. I hope more artists amend this in 2019 and understand that there is a desire to find out about them and get a sense of who they are. In a competitive and hectic industry, I think that attention and addition will make a big difference. I am hoping the interview comes back from The Lottery Winners because their music suggests a fun and original flair – I wonder if this translates to conversation and what the guys do away from music. The Lottery Winners have great music behind them and they have some cool photos available. This is pleasing to see but I still hanker to discover more about the northern band and how they all found one another. I think there is a lot about them to recommend and it is clear many people are falling for The Lottery Winners. They are from different parts of the country but Manchester/Greater Manchester is where they base themselves. I have always been a fan of music from Manchester and feel artists there do it differently; there is something about them that stands out from the pack. The Lottery Winners definitely have a distinct flair and direction about them. I hope, going forward, they put a bit on their social media pages regarding their home and how music came to them; how they plan on moving forward and how a song like That’s Not Entertainment came to be. Whilst I do not need to know the story of the track, a little bit about the music in general would aid my opinions and would provide a bit of colour and truth regarding the group.


I have mentioned the North and how music differs there. I think there is all this attention paid to London and, whilst I bring this up a lot, I do feel like the spotlight needs to point in other directions this year. I can understand why we keep focusing on London: so many different stars are being made here and there is so much going on. It is a busy city, for sure, but that does not mean everywhere else is inferior and quiet. Manchester has always thrived and been an essential cog of the music machine. Look back as far as the 1980s and you can see how Manchester acts have inspired what we hear today. I have visited Manchester a few times and feel there is something special about the city that keeps musicians rooted and leads to very cool music. I think London is full of interesting people and the music can reflect that diversity. More often than not, I am sensing something a little anxious about music from London. So many people I talk to from here are feeling the strain of daily life and it can be hard separating that from the music. You want to be truthful and reflect what is going on in your life and, more often than not, we get something that has tension and a sense of fear. That might be all-sweeping but you can definitely see a split between artists in London and those in the North. I think there is more wit, story and personality in music from Manchester. I am not suggesting London lacks personality and charm but you tend to find a higher percentage in Manchester. Look at The Lottery Winners and they are your typical example. They love fun and want to ensure the music makes you feel better. I am sure they have the same problems and stresses as everyone but it seems their natural environment is a lot calmer and more inspiring than it would be if they were in London. Maybe that is a bit rash but I cannot see them moving anytime soon.           


What is it about the North that leads to original music? I have met a lot of people there and there is more time for communication and conversation. You can always expect to find a friendly face somewhere and that simple thing can inspire music and a human in general. If you are bustling and rushing through a city then it is hard to reflect and take the time to sit and rest. Manchester is busy and popular but one gets a different vibe there. More easy-going for the most part and, when you get to know the people, their stories and humour can really lift you. For a musician, having that at your feet is invaluable and I can tell The Lottery Winners are comfortable where they are. Maybe it is not as simple as saying northern artists are brighter and more optimistic but I can always rely on a certain wit, colour and brightness when I investigate acts from Manchester. At the very least, you get something fresh and exciting. The Lottery Winners occasionally look inward feel the pinch but they are more concerned with projecting a vivacious and multifarious canvas. I have listened back to their previous tracks and there is a distinct sense of adventure, energy and brightness about them. I feel the cynicism of the world will not change their demeanour and they will continue to write these classy gems. I think the media, if they want to discover artists bringing the joy, need to look further north and investigate Manchester more. I feel the last bold and nation-uniting movement that came from music, Britpop, was northern-led and we need to recapture that sense of togetherness and hope – even if you think Britpop was a fad and fake, you cannot deny there was some epic music from that period in the 1990s! I would like to know more about The Lottery Winners and how the guys’ music comes to be. Maybe they will disclose a bit more later this year but, right now, people are falling for the music.


 PHOTO CREDIT: @samanthajguess

I have read the reviews The Lottery Winners have garnered and they are all very positive. I have been obsessed with solo artists the past few years and it has been a tough time for bands. There is this never-ending divide between the mainstream and the underground. I mention this a bit but it is interesting to see the different layers. Look out at the charts and the big scene and most of the music coming through is from solo artists. A large percentage of the best albums of 2018 were from solo acts and there was not a lot of band influence. That is very different when you dig deeper and look at the artists coming through. Maybe there is still a weight of solo artists but I am seeing some terrific bands emerging. The Lottery Winners are definitely needed in the mainstream right now. Many have damned the Pop market and claim it lacks feeling, substance and longevity. Maybe there is that demand for music that is quick and easy to understand. Often, we like our sounds quite uncomplicated and catchy. Perhaps bands deal more with something a bit heavier and there is not quite the demand for their work right now. What I am finding with a lot of mainstream bands is the fact they lack a real spark and sense of identity. There are so many recycled sounds and not that many who genuinely go down their own path. As I stated when reviewing Leeds’ allusinlove recently, it seems the underground band market is in safe hands. The Lottery Winners have a distinct style and passion that could help bring about a revival and improvement. It might take a few years until we see the solo hegemony end but I think we do need more balance in the mainstream. The fact The Lottery Winners have the ear of stations like BBC Radio 6 Music – as I shall explain later – shows they are doing something right. How does a band manage to get from the underground and emerge in the big leagues?



It is clear it takes more than good tunes to make that happen. I feel a committed social media presence is needed and putting your music out as much as possible. By this, I mean bands need to keep sharing their music and update fans as much as possible. You do not need to keep releasing songs but do not leave a big gap between releases. The Lottery Winners have ticked all the boxes and they are keen to update their fans all of the time. We get a real bond with them and it makes it a lot easier to follow them and stick by them. I feel so many artists leave gaps between communication and it is hard to find out what they are doing. If you have a great act that keeps you in mind and does not leave this big pause then you are more committed and invested. I think there is a great relationship in the band that comes out on the screen and in their music. Maybe it is harder to resonate as a band because, in many ways, it is easier to bond with a solo artist. It is an easier and simpler relationship and solo acts can easily get into the heart and speak to you. Bands, largely, find it harder to be personal and deliver music the same way as solo artists. This is my opinion and you might have a different take. It is clear that a successful band needs to have faith and trust working through everything. Look at bands such as IDLES and you just know the fellas are great friends and they have that unbreakable connection. I have heard so many bands that fail to register because every member seems to be on a different page. Listen to The Lottery Winners and you just know they have nothing but respect for one another. It comes out in their music and that makes you stick by them and see what comes next.


I think chemistry is important and you need to be a solid unit. Music is a difficult business and it is even more stressful now. If you are a band like The Lottery Winners, friendship and solidity is vital. The band specialises in sweeping and big songs and you need to commit to them. If there was any tension or struggle in the ranks then it would be harder to sell those songs. I do like the fact that there are these promising bands coming out that have a deep respect and affection for one another. I think it is harder being in a band compared to life as a solo artists and it is easy to get under each other’s skin in a bad way. If you have that mutual respect it makes the songwriting process smoother and means the music is much more natural. I love The Lottery Winners because they are connected solidly and you just know the songwriting and rehearsal sessions are full of laughter and fun. I think the future is very rosy for the band and they are definitely filling a void right now. I don’t know when the change occurred but I definitely recall when the music scene was a more positive and upbeat place. Compared to what we have today, one could find music that got the heart pumping and made you feel better. More and more, it is harder to discover that sort of bliss and much-needed bliss. One might say society now is more anxious and we are all obsessed by technology – less connected to one another and more stressed as a people. I keep saying it but music needs to be somewhere one can escape to and give us a distraction from daily life. If we have a mass of artists who are mirroring the strain and unhappiness around us then how is that going to make us feel? It would be impossible to demand that every artist cheers up a bit and produced sunnier music but we definitely need to promote those artists that understand the problem – this is where The Lottery Winners come in.


I will end by looking at their backing and how the critics are receiving them. In terms of where they come from, musically, there is a lot of the North in them. I was delighted to discover a band that had elements of The Housemartins and The Beautiful South in their D.N.A. One can also hear the jangle of The Smiths and it is very clear The Lottery Winners keep the North close to them. One can hear some southern tones but it is the classic songwriters of the North that direct what they do. I wanted to mention influenced because it can be important when it comes to understanding an artist. I always delight in being able to mention The Beautiful South whenever I can. The reason so many have noted a link between The Lottery Winners and The Beautiful South is because of the wit and the  catchy choruses; the fact both bands could make you smile and produce quintessential Pop music – the sort that makes you feel better but can provide a bit of bite here and there. I miss The Beautiful South and feel they never got the respect they deserved. Led by songwriter Paul Heaton, we all know at least a few of their songs and grew up around their music. I love the way Heaton (and composer Dave Rotheray) could articulate the less glamorous and more realistic sides of domestic harmony and relationships. Heaton was masterful when talking about the mundane and familiar; the sort of horrors that lurked behind closed doors and things most songwriters were not discussing. We have not really seen a replacement for them and it is a shame so many songwriters feel writing about love needs to be a draining and harrowing thing. Where are those that artists that add some wit and story to the blend? I long to hear bands that articulate the wit and worldview of The Smiths and can pen those classic tracks like The Beautiful South did.


The Lottery Winners, whilst not in the same league as them, have a similar ambitions and attitude. You can tell they are tired of the same songs that address the same things. Rather than follow everyone and hope to get to the mainstream but being samey and common; the band provide a lot more sparkle and intrigue. You listen to a song like That’s Not Entertainment and, aside from the rewording of a Jam song, there is so much to unpick and become hooked by. There are few bands that deliver solid and uplifting songs and I think we all need to spend a bit more time with The Lottery Winners. The guys have been backed by BBC Radio 6 Music and D.J.s such as Chris Hawkins rank among their fans. I feel that sort of backing is impressive and rare. I am not suggesting BBC Radio 6 Music are the only station who matter but they are not interested in the commercial and cheap. Instead, they look out at the music world and are keen to support musicians who are different and place quality over popularity. I shall move onto the new song from The Lottery Winners but, before then, a bit about backing. I have read great reviews that all seem to say the same things about the band. People are noticing the jangle and the fun; the fact the songs get into the head and stay with you. Maybe it is a northern thing but many have been charmed by the wit and verve of The Lottery Winners. I hope the guys continue down this road and do not let the rather pessimistic and bleak shadow so many are under come their way! I think it is right to look at a song that came out late last year. That’s Not Entertainment points at great things and shows that, with every release, The Lottery Winners are more assured and ambitious.


The first moments, as I keep saying, of any song are vital and you need to bring people in. They say we tend to turn off and make a decision about a song after only a few seconds. I fear for those who slowly build a song and rely on a listener sticking with things for longer! The Lottery Winners are masterful when it comes to hooking you right away. One gets a nice jangle and spirited swagger to the first few seconds and a declarative vocal that drives the song forward. Strangely, I get impressions of Smash Mouth (their hit, All Star, comes to mind) when listening to the melody and delivery. Maybe the U.S. band was not in the mind of the Manchester clan but we can hear a bit of them. Our hero steps to the microphone and confesses this: nothing on the radio means that much to him. A lot of songwriters have talked about the absence of quality on the radio – including Nelly Furtado – and it is, sadly, a subject that has plenty of ‘inspiration’ – the mainstream has not become much stronger or more varied lately! You wonder whether the song will be an attack on the state of commercial music or whether the band have their tongues firmly in their cheeks. I definitely get a flair of Smash Mouth and, rather than discuss confidence and pumping up the senses, The Lottery Winners look at those who are proferred by big labels and stations. If you are good looking then that does not mean you are better than anyone else. One wonders whether artists like ZAYN and Harry Styles are being revealed: the sort that is quality-lite but have a distinct look and appeal that pre-teen fans love. The song, despite some sharp-tongued directions, is light and has a conversational style. It seems these stars are being taken for fools and are being guided by labels that want a lot of money and do not care about the quality.


I love the blend of sounds that seems to unite the early days of The Beautiful South but there is a bit of U.S. Rock to be discovered. It is a big and impressive sound and one can understand why so many critics have been raving about The Lottery Winners. The band seem to share the same attitude as me when it comes to talent shows: they are bubblegum and exploit those who want their fifteen minutes and have sob stories to tell. Look at the T.V. schedules and we have inane dance contests on BBC and singing shows all over the place. All of them lure in the lightweight and slight who only have minor talent and do not have the worth and substance to remain and inspire. It is not new attacking these outlets but The Lottery Winners do so in a fresh way. Their always-light and affecting charm means you are never uncomfortable and feel anxious. It is great to hear that catchy and fantastic sound give the song a freshness and audible smile. Balance that against the cynical words that wonder whether there is much treasure to be found on the radio and on the T.V. Maybe The Jam did not have ideas that, years after That’s Entertainment! Was released, there would be this sly retort. I am not sure what the original was inspired by but the music scene has changed since 1980. The static and white noise we are subjected to is getting boring and we are looking around for some light. The band throws in guitar stabs and wonderful accents. It keeps the song alive and appropriately interesting. It would be bad to hear a song that rebels against the bland if the song itself was the same – The Lottery Winners have produced a fine and epic song that gets you pumped. That’s Not Entertainment is a song filled with spritz and excitement. One can stand by the song’s messages and ethics. You will find yourself nodding your head and singing along to a song that brings the fun but conveys a serious message. I wonder whether the messages of That’s Not Entertainment will run off on the artists being accused!


I have discussed The Lottery Winners from different angles and covered them quite well. I do hope the band put more online regarding their story and make sure they share as many interviews as possible – let’s hope they get mine back to me soon! That’s Not Entertainment is a solid and interesting song I was keen to review and, although a bit late, I wanted to take the time and do it justice. 2019 has not been with us too long but I know the band are planning ahead and seeing what is coming. I do hope there is more music afoot and they take their tracks on the road. I am not sure what they have planned regarding tour dates but they will cover the North and do as much at home as they can. I am looking at this year and seeing what sort of artist will define things. I think The Lottery Winners are worth keeping an eye out for and following. They have a good link with their fans online and they produce a wonderful live show. I would like to see them play further south and I do hope they have quite a few gigs lined up. I am sure there will be an E.P. later in the year and it is an exciting time for them. A lot of artists are making early bids regarding singles but it might be a couple more months before we start seeing big albums arrive. That is a weird thing with music. How many great albums, from history, came out in the first couple of months of the year? It seems like most of the classics, from recent times or the past, arrive later in the year. This is just me musing but I feel The Lottery Winners should be thinking about an attack around March; lining up some dates after that and readying themselves for the festivals. I love what they are putting out right now and, if you have not discovered them, ensure you...


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