Afflecks Palace  “What Do You Mean Its Not Raining”  album reviewAfflecks Palace

“What Do You Mean Its Not Raining” 

Album review

9/10

LP CD DL

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What’s Going On?

Afflecks Palace are breaking out big selling out big local gigs and getting talked about and the people are catching on. This is now really happening with sold out shows, radio play and the busy Manc bee buzzing that the prodigal sons are back in town. It’s no wonder as well with such exquisite crafted guitar gems that nod to the Roses perfect timeless melodies and the spirit of ‘89 and that empowering vibe but somehow finding its own narrative or creating ‘something bright, a representation of optimism, juxtaposed against the bleak, derelict landscape of modern, covid inflicted times…’ as they once emailed to me. 

It really shouldn’t work should it? You are called Afflecks Palace after the iconic clothing and culture building in the centre of Manchester, you wanna be adored, your music has a whiff of the prime time Roses and the glorious summer of 89, you are steeped in the Madchester vibes in the area, you are the bucket hat, baggy brethren that looks like you stepped out from 1989 and yet! And yet! Afflecks Palace have remarkably managed to create something so magical, so beautiful and so transcendental out of the wreckage of the past that the past truly is yours and the future is mine or theirs…

If you were waiting in vain for the Roses to re-appear with that much mooted mythical third album full of glorious psychedelic sixties pop for the now then here it is but with added layers of its own beauty and melody. Afflecks Palace are obviously in love with the classic jangling melodies and attitude of those bygone times and maybe even started a band just to enjoy that vibe but then found out that they were far, far more than this. The glorious day in the rehearsal room when they suddenly realised that they were the equals of the founding fathers and the baggy gods must have been a great one. No longer the followers they were suddenly the nu leaders and started to monster off in their own direction resulting in this classic debut album.

Somehow they have created one of the albums of the year. Every songs drips sweet melody, a crystalline melancholy and a soaring euphoria. Every song on the album sound perfect and fully formed and, crucially, sounds like their own as they have amazingly managed to hack their own path into the classic Manc lineage.

The hard-working band have defied fashion and cynics and created their own pop dream out of the baggy fabric of the past. They had a dream and they realised it. Every second of the album drips perfect lysergic melodic and simmering summer tunes that defy the northern drizzle in that grander, longer tradition of Manchester that starts with the Hollies and runs through Smiths/Roses axis but its of the now. There is the urgent beauty of west coast psychedelia and the eternal love for Love, the stubborn love of crate-digging classic of indie, the deceptively soft tones of Northern boys in touch with their emotions without getting all soft round the edges.

This is the soundtrack to drifting through the vastly expanded northern quarter or past the shimmering super towers of modern Manchester on one of those surpassingly common balmy evenings when being young and plugged into the electricity of youth and poptimism and effortless guitars is the only thing that really matters and it’s the best feeling in the world.

Everything is here – the chiming guitars that drip flower petal melody before slipping and sliding into kaleidoscope arpeggios and mind melting backwards guitars and we love backwards guitars! The busy bass, the shuffling drums and the super sweet vocals – it’s all here and done so perfectly that you can’t but fall in love. Afflecks Palace are doing this without anyone’s permission. They are in love with a culture but they have somehow made it of the now. It’s a trip down memory lane that has somehow ended up at destination 2021.

Every track is a single – there is no point in singling out any track for the sake of the review – they are all perfect self contained slices of classic songwriting and yearning. This is the sound of hands in the air, eyes shut, live forever communal dancing. Every song is exquisite and beautifully constructed, There is a really skill and imagination here and it’s wonderful the way they have somehow created their own space out the flicking embers of the past. 

It all sounds so effortless, so perfect like manna from the baggy gods. Fully realised and the result of being in love with your culture this is the soundtrack to Manchester’s forth or fifth summer of love. There is no filler just pure guitar pop perfection. Afflecks Palace are on a roll. They are now unstoppable. 

Afflecks palace are going to massive.

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.

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