The NonStick Pans
Man up, Man!
The track, Man up, Man!, is available via:
The album, Nineteen Sixty Four, is available via:
11th December, 2018
THERE is a lot to recommend...
when it comes to The NonStick Pans but, perhaps, lettering is not one of them. That sounds odd but I think it is for artistic affect. The ‘NonStick’ combined as one word (without a hyphen); the title of the new track being spelled ‘up’ instead of ‘Up’ and the album being ‘Nineteen Sixty Four’ - without any hyphens. A lot of artists do this with their song titles and names. Billie Eilish is renowned for putting her song titles in lower-case lettering but, in a packed industry, it sort of stands out I guess. I was not going to expand on it – it was an observation and I wondered whether artists did do it for an artistic affect. In any case, I will focus on the more positive sides of the music. I want to address artists who put their everything into the mix and create a real labour of love. I will also look at those inspired by the sounds of the 1960s and particular acts. I will bring in sounds in general but also look back at the North and ask whether it is here we are finding the most intriguing songwriters today. I will then go on to look at new artists and getting noticed in the modern scene – completing by thinking where The NonStick Pans might head. I do not review entire albums – only the singles – so cannot give you my impressions regarding the rest of the material on the record. I recommend you listen to the whole of Nineteen Sixty Four because, in many ways, its title sort of gives you an impression of the sound and quality. This was the year when The Beatles produced A Hard Day’s Night and Beatles for Sale and there was a great Pop sound coming through. I think The NonStick Pans’ creator has taken to heart this great Pop core and combined it with something very much of his own. There are few artists who put their all into the music and you can hear that incredible effort.
I listen to the music on the album and can hear all the effort and love that has gone into it. It seems strange for me to mention quality in music and passion but how many artists do put this much attention and detail into their work? I think there are a lot who really hone and put passion into their music and it can be a really hard slog. That sounds a bit dark but, to get ahead and produce something exceptional, you need to really expend a lot of time and energy. It is clear The NonStick Pans – not sure I will ever get used to that name! – has been away and really worked on the songs to make sure they shine and have that balance of the old and new. I do think there is a lot of pressure when it comes to getting music out there and putting something into the market quickly. I worry that artists have this pressure to put out music fast so they do not get overlooked. As such, I am discovering a lot of music that sounds fairly forgettable and it can be frustrating. Those who take the time out and really work on something fresh do risk losing some traction regarding pace and attention but I think it is the right approach. It will be a while before The NonStick Pans gets to the bigger festivals but that achievement will happen because of the strong material and the fact it sounds so solid. I can imagine him doing some of the Folk festivals or maybe ascending to one of the biggest gigs in years to come. The rich vocal harmonies and tight songs come from someone who has really stood back and ensured the material is as strong as it can be. I love the songs and feel the album, Nineteen Sixty Four, is really solid. One gets something very fresh yet professional when listening to The NonStick Pans’ music. That is rewarding to hear and something a lot of musicians should take to heart.
I think I am drawn to the music because it has that inspiration from the 1960s. You get the harmonies and sunshine from The Beach Boys and there is the melodic sensibility of The Beatles. I think a lot of artists look back when it comes to inspiration and there is nothing wrong with that. So long as you are contributing something new to the older mix and not replicating the artists then that is okay. What we get with a song like Man up, Man! is a modern-sounding theme and storyline but there are those scents of the 1960s. On other songs, one gets a more evocative and potent semblance of the decade and a real love of the time. I do wonder how many young artists coming through will actually take inspiration from the 1960s and whether it is a relevant time. So many parents now are of an age where they did not listen to music from then – or were born in the 1970s and 1980s – and they do not pass that down to their children. I got exposed to music of the 1960s as my parents were born the decade before and this was the music they grew up around. How many parents now look back at the 1960s as opposed, say, the 1990s?! Maybe there are a few who are that bold but it is good to see an artist as young as The NonStick Pans forsake the 1990s – so many are following and working in that decade right now – and go back to that golden age. It is quite lofty following the sounds of The Beatles and The Beach Boys and one might have certain expectations. In this case, you get the shimmering and California-rich harmonies but you also get the northern sensibilities of The Beatles and that sort of blend – not something we hear often in modern music! I think many fear looking at the 1960s because they assume it is quite limited or it is hard to follow those big acts. I think there is so much gold from that time that, if done right, can lead to some sensational music.
What one gets with The NonStick Pans is a nod to that time and a way of writing that does add optimism and light into the blend. Too many modern songwriters are quite moribund and hopeless when it comes to joy and I feel we need to bring the thrill back. I am not suggesting Nineteen Sixty Four is all joy – there are moments of anger, fear and darker mood – but one does feel buoyed and elevated by the music. I often look at the 1960s and think it is that happy time when there was genuine optimism around. Maybe things have changed but I look at modern music and do not think there is as much hope as there should be. I think a reason why people avoid the 1960s is because the music of the time was defined by a certain tightness and catchiness. Bands like The Beatles cut their teeth crafting these three-minutes wonders and bringing something instantly memorable to the plate. Maybe The Beatles and The Beach Boys started getting more experimental after a time but think about their earlier work and it is all about these really tight tracks. I listen to The NonStick Pans and songs do not run on and outstay their welcome. It is refreshing hearing a songwriter who can write a great song and does not feel the need to go past the five-minute mark. Because of that, you get these fairly brief songs that pack a lot in. I do love the sense of energy that runs through and a distinct accent. Too many people, when replicating 1960s sounds, tend to Americanise their accent or mimic other artists. You can tell our hero has not done that and keeps his true voice strong. I have been looking away from the North quite a bit and focusing on London to an extent. It is good to have the chance to go back to an area of the world that is producing sensational music.
The NonStick Pans is based in Blackpool and, aside from Jethro Tull, there have not been that many big artists from that part of the world. Lancashire in general is a productive and epic spot for music and I can see why artists are not willing to leave there. When I am faced with a northern artist, I often wonder whether they will move to London but, in a lot of cases, they stay put. I think this is good because it shows there is an audience there and venues willing to put them up. Down here, we have a lot of venues closing and it is becoming very packed. It is harder to get attention and I do wonder whether we have reached a saturation point in London. I feel there is still too little attention paid to northern artists by the big websites and papers. Think about the great bands like The Beatles and one would think they alone have done enough to ensure the North does not get overlooked. Today, there might be fewer legends here than there was in decades past but I am seeing a great new crop grow. I do like the fact there is more personality and variation in the northern sounds. I feel artists have less stress on their shoulders and write more honestly. Maybe that is because of economic divides or it might be the natural personalities of the people. Whatever the reason, I love music from the North and it definitely deserves more acclaim and focus. Let’s look at somewhere like London and whether it is possible to distinguish artists here. There are countless great acts here but how easy is it to find them and stand them aside? Because of the pace and crowded nature of the city, I do wonder whether a lot of acts are getting buried and overlooked. Compare that to somewhere like Blackpool and it is a lot easier to unroot the very best. Maybe The NonStick Pans will locate to Liverpool or Manchester in the future because I think there are more venues and labels that could catch his eye.
I think Liverpool especially is a city that is coming back with force and attracting a lot of young musicians. It is the history and heritage of the place that beckons them in and, as a result, leads to fantastic music. Why do we tend to ignore the North and concentrate too heavily on London? Maybe some of us are bolder but it seems to be a media thing. I am discovering so many great northern acts emerging and wonder whether they are being exposed. There is a definite split in terms of voice and narrative when one compares the South and North. I love the more humorous, natural and varied sounds of the North because you get all these extra elements. One gets charm and humour mixed with something deeper and more serious. It is hard to define but I think northern artists approach music differently and put more of themselves into the songs. Listen to The NonStick Pans’ love of 1960s music and that fuses brilliantly with his natural surroundings. One gets a blend of the modern and of-the-moment with that dreamy and wistful nod to the 1960s. There is also a great mixture of Britpop-era sounds that, perhaps, is a time he dimly recalls. Many artists are inspired by the 1990s but I wonder whether they find it hard to match the sense of energy and hope that came from Britpop. Instead, many are looking at Grunge and the American Alternative scene from that time. Maybe it is not exclusively a northern thing but I love that mixture of decades and what comes out in an album such as Nineteen Sixty Four. Take a listen to the whole album and one gets so many great stories and combinations. I wanted to feature a few other songs in this review but I feel I will only give them a slight nod. I have picked Man up, Man! because it is especially strong and a song that has received a lot of attention. I shall come to that in a bit.
It is hard to stand out nowadays and I do wonder what life is like for a new artist. A lot of the time, there is so much to consider and quite a task ahead! Think about all the social media factors and the fact you need all these different accounts. By the time you have them going, you need to promote yourself and, with each new track, there is this cycle and pressure. One needs to keep the focus strong but also ensure other factors are considered. By that, there needs to be regular updates on social media and one will always be pressured to gig. Most artists love to perform but, alongside gigging, you need to look ahead to yet more material and ensuring you are ahead of the competition. It is hard for every artist but I think those coming through right now have it hardest. That might sound scary for The NonStick Pans but think about all the work that must have gone into an album like Nineteen Sixty Four. The songs need to be memorable and fresh and the quality has to be there through every stage. When the album is done, it needs to be promoted and the music needs to get the attention of the public and radio stations. The NonStick Pans also needs to push the music on social media and get as much press as possible. It is exhausting promoting the work, let alone being successful and ensuring enough people are invested. It is impressive when one comes across someone like The NonStick Pans because you have this very professional and assured artist. So few artists have good social media numbers and pages but his are impressive and always growing. The music is solid and the visual aspect is very pleasing. Given the fact the 1960s-inspired sounds have led to these great images from The NonStick Pans, I wonder whether even more photos could be provided with this sort of aesthetic – I love the shots that are out there that sort of shows the hero as a Scott Walker-type figure.
I think, if an artist does not rush and takes time, they can get everything right. There is this pressure to get stuff into the ether and so much competition around. Many get stressed because they always have to get their music out there – I think this is quite dangerous. It can be stressful putting together music and succeeding today but I think originality and a unique sound can do a lot of the work. That might sound tricky considering the number of artists around but it is not impossible. The NonStick Pans has this brew of the 1960s and 1990s and joined that to this rather striking and personal tone. As such, one gets a little nod of familiarity but there is this chemistry that nobody else has. I feel so many modern songs are quite dour and lack any sense of happiness. People want to discover music that can make them feel better and is not always so downbeat. Musicians today need to think about why we listen to music and the power it holds. If everything is too ‘real’ then that provides little escape and can actually create something negative. Those who manage to be personal and honest but ensure there is light and colour in their sounds will get ahead a lot quicker than those who are all bleak and too insular. It is a promising and big start from The NonStick Pans and I feel he can success and grow if he remains true to his core and sound. The 1960s-scented material is fantastic and there are few other artists out there who sound quite like him. I should get onto the new material of The NonStick Pans and a song that mixes the classical sounds of The Beatles with something quite today-focused and vital. It is a song that conveys a very important message but enriches you with its colours and energy.
I am always interested in how a song starts and what approach an artist will take. Do you go in quite urgent and try and grab them in the first few seconds – like The Beatles did so effortlessly – or does one build the mood and not give too much away at the top? In the case of Man up, Man! there is this rather instant and alluring start. The drum sort of roils and rollicks and you get this burst of energy and Pop magic before a word is spoken. It is a nice and unexpected introduction that gets you involved straight away and represents what The NonStick Pans is all about. The hero talks about someone who is the “king of the world” but is unable to jump for joy right now. Although I have mentioned bands like The Beach Boys the vocals, in fact, have a little touch of singers Paul Heaton and Paddy McAloon. I am not sure how familiar with them The NonStick Pans is but one gets this soulful richness in the voice. It seems like this is this rage building up (in the subject) but this is being replaced by joy. The song’s title might sound like something that is being avoided in modern music: that ‘man up’ sentiment and just getting over something. Here, it is used in a humorous and conversation way and there is never a sense the hero is trying to undermine a subject or create tension. In fact, the vocal is consistently light and breezy but has so much texture and heart. One definitely hears the influence of the 1960s because of the general energy and skip of the track. It is impossible to listen and not be moved by the music. The composition is fairly sparse but the sturdy percussion gives plenty of kick and guidance. It is the vocal and the alacrity of The NonStick Pans that creates the biggest draw. It seems like the song’s hero is someone who has been through a lot and, in some ways, needs to do some growing.
Maybe the title – Man up, Man! – is more a call for maturity than balls. In some ways, the song commentates on the way we approach feelings and our emotions. Are men pressured into being quite angry and distant and not letting their true emotions out? Is toxic masculinity and ignorance still too present and dominant? One can approach the song from different angles and it is interesting picking things apart. Perhaps this is a song that addresses a particular subject and the way they have approached life but there is that wider vision. I love how, in spite of everything, the man keeps the song cheery and delightful. There is a sheer infectiousness and sense of rouse that gets the words to life and puts them in the brain. It seems like, the more the song goes on, the more it applies to the general population. I get the feeling The NonStick Pans is looking at the way men are expecting to have this mask and what that is doing to the mental-health of many. Is it time we sort of broke from that parable and encouraged more openness? I think there are a few songs that carry a similar message but very few in such an uplifting way. Maybe the tone and sound is ironic in a way: the rather happy delivery is a way of hiding something more troubling and serious. Listen to the rest of Nineteen Sixty Four to know there are plenty of other happy moments but, in this context, the sound carries particular punch and weight! The chorus is instantly memorable and I do love the way new instrumental elements come in near the end. We get a blast of horns and there is this growing mood. The lead vocal is consistently strong and soulful and it adds so much to the song. You are invested all the way through and wonder if there is this particular man in mind. The hero talks about someone who has bottled things up and might not be in the best headspace right now. In a larger sense, there is this wider message that looks at masculinity and whether we are telling men to hide things and not let their emotions out. By the time Man up, Man! comes to an end there is so much to look back on and ponder. The song itself is great and has this perfect energy and fusion. I kept coming back to it because you get this release and explosion. It is a wonderful song but one that carries weight and a serious lyric. Many will have their own interpretations regarding the truth and story and I hope that I have gone some way to explaining it. Make sure you investigate and get behind the wonderful tune. It is the perfect example of what The NonStick Pans is all about and what defines his sound. Let’s hope there are many more albums from the man!
I think this year will be a big one for The NonStick Pans. I am not sure whether he has any tour dates coming up and what is in the diary. I would love to see a U.K. tour and a collection of small dates that brings the Nineteen Sixty Four album to the people. I stated he is based in Blackpool and asked whether he might move at some point. There are some great venues where he is but, actually, he is not too far from Manchester and Liverpool and it is not such a trek getting that way. Maybe London is more of a trek but there are a lot of venues that would put him up and give him some stage time. I love the record and feel the song titles alone are worth exploring! Somehow Girl, Jennifer String and Ignota are favourites of mine and you listen to the song just to see whether the inspiration behind those titles is revealed! I think it is great the album is out there – it was released last year – and there is a chance to release a few singles/videos from it. That will give The NonStick Pans a chance to bring to life some of the bets cuts and get the music to new audiences. He is active on social media and building a small fanbase at the moment. That will increase when more airplay comes and he tours a bit wider. I know there is that demand already and the incredible songwriter has been noticed by critics. I love how the music has that effortless blend of natural tones and the familiar sounds of The Beach Boys and The Beatles. That means those who grew up in the 1960s will find much to love but one does get a smash of the 1990s and, in every moment, sounds of the here and now. The strong songwriting is evident and the songs get into the head without much struggle. I predict The NonStick Pans will go far and it will not be long until he is...
TAKING these songs all around the country.
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