Salford band Whipcord have just released what was originally intended as an EP but grew to be a whole album. Mike Brotherton reviews the (free) album by this uncompromising rock band.

Known for tearing up clubs across the UK with the most manic, sometimes volatile and certainly the loudest live shows possible for a band of their size, it was about time Salford’s Whipcord put some sounds down on tape – at least some that their fans could get a hold of! For the uninitiated: Whipcord was formed in 2006 by singer/guitarist Nick Barry and bassist Duncan Purcell. They’ve had a revolving door of drummers, finally settling with current sticksman Gaz Porter. Their sound is best described as a strident blend of heavy rock, with pace like Motorhead or The Groundhogs, and chaotic punk overtones. Imagine The Who covered by Black Flag, and you’ll not be far off.

It was in 2009 that the band released their first single See You & Tea via iTunes. Fast forward a couple of years and in the great D.I.Y. tradition of Manchester (and in tune with the current musical climate) Whipcord had decided to record and release an EP – but apparently couldn’t decide on which of tracks to do (from a selection of 23!). So, with only 3 days of studio time they recorded these 10… Their first LP then? Cool. The result is a blistering 35 minutes of pure rock fury. Nick’s shrill screams and contorted melodies combine with his frantic guitar riffs, enhanced by an array of raw retro effects pedals, as demonstrated in album opener Great Pertuber. This tune sets the tone for the record. The bass sound of Duncan Purcell is straight out of the 70’s- booming and stentorian. As evidenced by the introduction from seminal live favourite Mistlead. And it looks like Whipcord have solved their drummer issue, as Gaz’s straight up rock approach serves these tunes well- powerful and understated.

Those who have seen Whipcord live will be pleased that the recordings do justice to the songs. The production isn’t bad at all. Perhaps the drums, particularly the bass drum, could have been mixed better. They are often over powered by the heavy low end from the bass guitar. Other than this minor gripe the record gives a good reflection of the band live, and that is what you need for this type of band. The slightly low-fi feel might actually add to the appeal for some. The highlights for me are Mistlead (stream above), and I Got Ahead In My Head My Headlines I Make (quite a mouthful of a title!). The latter of which has a simply stunning guitar riff! For years heavy rock fans have been hounded with an array of over produced, talentless pretenders. So to hear such an uncompromising and genuine rock band is extremely refreshing.

All words Mike Brotherton.

The album can be downloaded for free from the bands website here.

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