Manchester-based indie rock stalwarts The Speed Of Sound unfurl their Future-Retro-Modernist flag and plant it firmly atop their ambitious (and fifth) full length album ‘Museum of Tomorrow’. 32 years to the day when the band’s debut EP saw the light of day in 1989, they will release this on CD and Deluxe LP via California’s Big Stir Records.
The Speed Of Sound’s music is optimistic and with lyrical bite, a punk-inspired DIY ethos and lust for experimentation rooted in psychedelia. Formed in 1989 with a pre-history dating back to the day Andy Warhol died in 1987, The Speed of Sound lies deep below the ‘music industry radar’, allowing for the evolution of their own distinctive sound and live act.
The line-up has changed over the years and today consists of father and son John Armstrong (guitars and vocals) and Henry Armstrong (keyboards), Ann-Marie Crowley (vocals and guitar), Kevin Roache (bass guitar) and John Broadhurst(drums).
‘The Museum of Tomorrow’ is an exhilarating nonstop sensory indulgence. A low-altitude magic carpet ride at breakneck speed over the insanity of the early 21st century, drenched in Science-Fiction and retro-futurist infused imagery and themes. Despite some dark subject matter, the lyrics are playful and as bright as coloured vinyl. This is the Museum Of Tomorrow – not a mere time-capsule or bleak survey of dystopian protest themes, but an immersive experience. Drunk with richness it hurtles on, twisting its many turns with subtlety; exhibiting mood, style and pace variance. The trajectory is laid in and the thrusters fire.
Earlier, the band previewed the lead track ‘Tomorrow’s World’, highlighting how the entire 21st century was mis-sold – a cry of anguish and a re-statement of what should have been.
While The Speed of Sound has already released eight singles via Big Stir Records, ‘Museum of Tomorrow’ is an all-new experience, each song being single-worthy. Conceived as two seamless sides, the vinyl edition was mastered as two extended pieces – ‘Gallery One’ and ‘Gallery Two’. Korg synthesizer lines, reminiscent of classic Science Fiction incidental music, link the gapless songs.
This is future retro modern music, having a definite 60’s influence but with an 80’s twist. With both female and male vocals, their sound is influenced by The Byrds, Small Faces, The Chords, Siouxsie & The Banshees and XTC. Merging the power of punk with floating harmonies, their sound and alphabetical order places them between Sonic Youth and Dusty Springfield.
On September 17, the ‘Museum of Tomorrow’ LP will be released digitally, on CD and limited-edition 170g heavy weight vinyl with a choice between black and glorious colour. Vinyl orders include a 16-page full-colour A5 printed Exhibition Guide containing lyrics, full-colour inner sleeve, a separate picture insert, a sticker, a pair of badges/buttons and a bookmark. Apart from platforms like Apple Music and Spotify, the LP can be ordered via Big Stir’s website.
Written by John Armstrong
John Armstrong – guitars and vocals
Ann-Marie Crowley – vocals and guitars
Kevin Roache – bass guitar
John Broadhurst – drums
Henry Armstrong – keyboards
Recorded at Vibratone Sound Studio, Manchester
Engineered by Adam Crossley and Chris Guest
Mixed By Adam Crossley, Chris Guest and The Speed Of Sound
Mastered by Adam Crossley and Chris Guest at Vibratone Sound Studio
Sleeve front / Artwork by Local Hotel Parking
Photos by Shay Rowan
01. Tomorrow’s World
02. Opium Eyes
04. Zombie Century
05. Wired And Tired
06. Virtual Reality (Part 2)
07. Shadow Factory
08. Impossible Past
09. Leaf Blower
10. Blood Sweat And Tears
12. The Day The Earth Caught Fire
13. Last Orders
“Their creative explosion is definitely worth it… The Speed of Sound are experts in balancing a raw and edgy sound with a guiding and invigorating sense of melody” ~ The Spill Magazine
“New Wave blood, powered by a heartbeat of 1960’s influences” ~ Louder Than War
“The thoughtfulness that goes into The Speed of Sound’s lyrics and music is precious. Unmistakable sound… a winning formula” ~ Big Takeover Magazine
“Distinctive traces of New York Art Rock and No Wave, often verging on the experimental and psychedelic while never losing its melody and infections catchiness” ~ Sounds
“Moody and intense, yet light and floating at the same time” ~ There Once Was A Note