Beat The Radar
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Beat The Radar

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:: Beat The Radar ::
23 November 2009 / Akoustik Anarkhy / 10 Trk CD

Beat The Radar’s debut album, is an amazing development in the career of a band who travelled up to the city in 2007 on something of a post-college scouting mission. It didn’t take long for Akoustik Anarkhy to recognise the talent and potential of the quartet, helping them deliver the ten tracks on “To The City From The Sea”. Recorded and produced with the esteemed Tom Knott at Airtight (with Chris Snow at Noisebox mastering) , the very best hands are helping and the results speak for themselves. “Misundertood What You Said” immediately delivers a guitar hook, with current single “19,19.20,21,22” providing plenty of unforgettable pop taglines. The bass on this album is a both an anchor and a driver, propelling and steering the band, whilst the energetic guitar shimmers, jingle themselves all the way to many climatic, skyscraping peaks. “Miracles” allows the drums to shower their beats and pace the song as an anthemic mantra worthy of any stadium. “Passenger” strips everything back further and from the bustling indie of a late 80’s UK, the experience also consumes an essential essence of American lo-fi. “By The Sea” proves the band's pop credentials yet further, soaking it in compulsive rock overtones and ambitious, rich, stabbing cavalcades of wonderfully structured post-rock. “Remember This Morning” finishes this album off with more starry eyed rattles, which soon switch once again to that cruising rock pulse. The steady but exciting beats and the low ebb of the travelling bass, line up magically with the thrust of the guitar and those understated but perfectly melodious vocals. I’m glad Beat The Radar snook over city’s borders – Manchester now has one of the most exciting prospects in the UK, blasting through the speakers of its music scene.

MMMM ½ - Manchester

A stridently catchy indie goodie from this Manchester-based outfit - sounds like it could be their lucky number. (Arwa Haider, Oct 2009) - Metro Newspaper (National press)

Bouncy Manchester foursome Beat The Radar are new to Clash, but on the basis of this song ‘Telephone Conversation’, we’re guessing the single won’t be the last we hear of them.

Released via aA Recordings, ‘Telephone Conversation’ will be in stores on June 1. Featuring hooks the size of World War II bombers, and melodies so sparkling that over-exposure is sure to lead to blindness of the ears – deafness, then – it’s a great introduction to a band brimming with crossover potential. Think along the lines of The Cribs and you’re getting there.

Says guitarist Laurie of their intentions: “We just want to write great pop music and get it across to as many people as possible. We're bringing back the big, anthemic chorus.” (Mike Diver, May 2009) -

Following equally hook-filled debut Telephone Conversation, here's a song comprising 202 seconds of riotous chorus that's as good as any heard all year. (John Earls, Octiber 2009) - Planet Sound (Teletext)

Geography, as ever at the Music Critic is always pivotal. Beat the Radar moved from Cumbria to Manchester to be nearer to the home of New Order, The Fall and the Stone Roses. The vibe and the vocals follow the English indie tradition, but the overall sound nods to Sebadoh, Husker Du and early REM. All this is underpinned with a tight, action packed rhythm section.

Beat the Radar pack a heavy power pop punch. From opener Misunderstood What You Said to the Buzzcock-esque 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 the album, To The City From The Sea, on Manchester’s Akoustic Anarky, breezes along quite nicely thank you very much.

It’s like a stroll through the indie guitar bands you forgot about in your record collection, full of familiar snapshots and great bands who should’ve been massive. This isn’t to say they sound unoriginal; in fact the effect is more of breathing new life and of bringing a fresh crispness.

In By the Sea there’s potentially a hit single that could see Beat the Radar starring high on next year’s festival circuit. Brilliant songs, all more addictive than midget gems and drummer Adam Featherstone drives us along splendidly.

There’s intricate guitar evoking The Smiths and Blur at their indie best, especially on Stars. On Pretend You Play a chord straight out of Sonic Youth’s back catalogue. If they’re not already, soon they’ll be the new darlings of the NME.

If you like guitar pop, you’ll love To The City From The Sea.

Great work.

[][][][] (4/5)

Review by Charlie Brown - The Music

"We kept things dirty, but we send you home with songs that stick in your head too."

That's a fine summary by singer Jonny Swift of Beat The Radar, a Manchester quartet whose debut album is stuffed with songs too venomous and tuneful to be dismissed just as traditional indie.

"I go to a lot of good experimental gigs," says Jonny. "But I don't hear many decent catchy songs right now."

Jonny grew up in Barrow-in-Furness in the Lake District, which led to his lyrics' sense of escapism.

"I don't miss it at all," he laughs. "It's an abandoned shipyard town, with nothing to do. I didn't enjoy growing up there, I couldn't want to leave.

"It's given me an affinity for ships, but not much else. That feeling of wanting to escape, it never leaves you, despite moving out a few years ago."

Guitarist Laurie Hulme and bassist Rowan Smith had already formed Beat The Radar when Jonny joined two years ago.

"I'd grown dis-satisfied with the band I was in," recalls Jonny, 27. "We were very indie, very post-Libertines.

"Laurie and Rowan were into bands I hadn't really known, like Idlewild and Mission Of Burma. That mix gelled instantly - we wrote songs at our first rehearsal that stayed in our head."

Having met in Lancaster, the band soon decamped to Manchester, signing to cult local label Akoustik Anarkhy.

"I'd assumed there'd be hordes of great bands on every street in Manchester," recalls Jonny. "But there's loads of s*** metal bands, same as everywhere.

"The guys at Akoustik have introduced us to a great community, though, and the best thing about Manchester is that there are good gigs on most nights."

After gaining a degree in Youth Work, Jonny works part-time at the deaf centre in Manchester.

"I went to Russia four times doing volunteer work," explains Jonny. "I chose to work with deaf people because it's such an overlooked culture.

"Deaf people are discriminated against a lot - not necessarily just by being insulted, but because their needs are often ignored by society in general."

Out next week, debut album To The City From The Sea was made at a local studio with Courteeners producer Tom Knott.

"We didn't feel good in luxury studios with X-Boxes," Jonny says. "We're there to make music, not muck about!

"Some people have compared us to The Cribs, and I'm happy with that. I can't think of any other peers: big audiences would love us, yet there aren't many bands like us out there at all."

(John Earles, November 2009) -

:: Beat The Radar ::
26 October 2009 / Akoustik Anarkhy / 1 Trk CD & Download

After relocating from the Lakes, Beat The Radar’s apprenticeship seems complete. Gathering their ideas in 2007, their work led to 2008’s impressive assault on the city’s music scene and the beginnings of a perfect relationship with Manchester’s esteemed Akoustik Anarkhy, whose alumni really are a who’s who of the very best of the local underground scene.

“18,19,20,21,22” is their best track released as yet, pending their anticipated album “To The City, From The Sea”. It has an urgency tempered by suggestive pop hooklines, but all along it balances on a narrow fence between cheerful indie and blistering Math wig outs. As the song pulses along on the symbiotic rattle of humming guitar ascents and growling bass lines, cut from big hammered single notes, there are enough jingles and ricochet beats to keep anyone happy. Jonny Swift swirls in a range of influences from the Wedding Present and The Smiths whilst filtering it though a modern nu-rock converter .

There’s something special about Beat The Radar and where local, often much hyped hopefuls have failed to deliver real melodies or a believable ambience, this band have hit the proverbial nail right on the head.

- Manchester

Space, 7pm (Carol Hodge)

Beat The Radar

A disappointingly sparse venue, a frustrating sound check, and jeans and t-shirts abound, but it didn't beat Beat The Radar. Their shruggy, hummable tunes, studied naivety and young poetic depression comes with lovely guitar and bass interplay and shoe gazing smiles. They warmed up as the set progressed and a more biting attitude set in. Ones to watch - classic Mancunian and very good at it. -

Few record labels consistently impress me as much as Manchester’s Akoustik Anarkhy. Latest signings Beat The Radar just keep getting better, and better, and better with each passing day it seems. If you thought first single Telephone Conversation was good (and I really, really did) then you’re in for a real treat with this one. Beat The Radar have produced an absolutely perfect indie pop record. The sort of balls-out anthem that made bands like The Cribs famous. The sort of track that just makes you want to crank up the volume, jump about with your mates and have a beer. The sort of track that has “classic” written all over it. I’ve had this on repeat all evening and I just can’t see myself ever getting bored of it. I really hope it happens for them. The last band on aA that made me scream their name from the rooftops was the outstanding Autokat, that sadly never broke out much beyond the Manchester circuit. I really hope it happens for Beat The Radar, they’ve an album out next month and I’m very, very excited about it.

They’re playing The Deaf Institute on November 13th. Grab your mates, have a beer and go fucking mental.

8/10 -

:: Beat The Radar ::
08 June 2009 / Akoustik Anarkhy / 1 Trk CD

I first came across Beat The Radar at a demo panel during ITC 2007 and even then there was some promise sparking through their home brewed recordings. To their (great) credit last year’s demo was an impressive development and here they find themselves being launched on the mighty and discerning local label Akoustik Anarkhy. “Telephone Conversation” isn’t the kind of track you can easily compress into a genre. It is rock music - and it is alternative - but there are all sorts of reference points intermingled. Beat The Radar relocated to this city after studying in Lancaster and maybe Manchester has rubbed off on them. The epic guitars shoot off in all directions and there's a urgency and vibrancy that seems as though it was written to echo down our streets. Whilst the song is anchored in rugged bass lines and snug snare beats, the vocals counterbalance the vivid guitar attacks. Beat The Radar are a rock ‘n Roll band, but with unyielding tunes and an energetic rhythm capable of making even the most stubborn of legs move – this is a three minute trip of teeth rattling hair raising joy tied to the dancefloor - a surefire bunch of 2009 hopefuls.

MMMM - Manchester


"Telephone Conversation" - Debut single released as download June 2009. Plays on BBC Radio 1 (Steve Lamaq), BBC 6 Music, XFM plus local radio.

"18,19,20,21,22" Single released as download October 2009. Plays on BBC Radio 1 (Huw Stevens), BBC 6 Music, XFM, NME Radio plus local radio.

Debut Album "To The City, From The Sea" released as download 9/11/09; physical format in the UK 30/11/09.

Singles plus album tracks can be heard on Spotify (type in "Beat the Radar") or band myspace



If you’re starting to feel that indie music has lost its heart, then Beat The Radar may be the antidote to your malaise. BTR’s debut album, To The City, From The Sea, is packed with heart-on-their-sleeve lyrics, raw vocals, chunky guitars and big, pop choruses.

The four Cumbrian exiles moved to Manchester to launch their band, reasoning that they’d be best placed in the home of their idols The Smiths, New Order, The Fall and The Stone Roses. But there’s more in Beat The Radar’s mix – a rich seam of US indie influences from Sonic Youth to early REM, Mission Of Burma and Sebadoh. It’s a rag-tag sound, but they’re a rag-tag bunch – this is not your over-styled, too-cool-for-school indie band. “We actually spend time focusing on writing some proper tunes rather than our haircuts,” says Jonny.

Named for their move from the wilds of the far northwest coast to inner city Manchester, To The City, From The Sea was recorded with producer Tom Knott (Micah P Hinson, King Creosote, The Courteeners, Emmy The Great, The Ting Tings) at Airtight Studios in Chorlton.

The finished result is a proper, old fashioned debut album: plenty of upbeat songs, a couple of downbeat ones, and a brilliantly raw distillation of Beat The Radar’s raucous live shows. In keeping with the title, some songs are inspired by nights out in Manchester – Stars came from a night looking up in a city centre beer garden, Pretend You Play Guitar from watching a guy playing air guitar in a club – others come from those Lake District days, such as early composition By The Sea. Of those, there’s often a sense of escapism and frustration – 18,19, 20, 21, 22 reflects on lyricist Jonny’s formative years, and Passenger provides a contemplative counterpart to the album’s freewheeling spirit.

Beat The Radar comprise singer Jonny plus Laurie Hulme (guitar), Craig Marchington (bass) and Mr Fruity Loops (drums). Hailing from “the scummy edges of the Lake District,” they formed while studying in Lancaster, and relocated to Manchester in 2008. On arriving in the rainy city, the band were quickly picked up by Manchester’s Akoustik Anarkhy Recordings. Their debut single Telephone Conversation (which appears on this album) was played on Radio 1 and 6 Music, where it received strong support from Steve Lamacq. They have also hit the live circuit hard, playing support slots for The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, The Longcut and The Answering Machine.

Outside of the band, Youth Work graduate Jonny works in the Manchester Deaf Centre as a volunteer co-ordinator (he’s fluent in BSL) and has volunteered in Russia four times – finding himself followed by the secret service when he did. Laurie works as a guitar teacher, but reckons he can’t read music. He does, however, have a degree in politics and international relations.

Despite this, diplomacy isn’t a necessary skill in this band – they’re all in agreement about their mission. “We just want to write great pop music and get it across to as many people as possible,” says Laurie. “We're bringing back the big, anthemic chorus.”