Spokes
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Spokes

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Band Alternative Rock

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BBC Review
A quiet triumph of a debut from a Manchester outfit on the rise.
Mike Diver 2011-01-24
Preston-formed, Manchester-based outfit Spokes have been going about their business fairly quietly since coming together in 2006. A self-released EP in 2008 attracted a little attention their way, but here is where they really make good on early promise: a debut album that is by turns beautiful and bombastic, rippling with raucous energy and seductive in its subdued melodies.
What Everyone I Ever Met is not, however, is a record that stands alone with its sound. Across its tracks there are pronounced echoes of Arcade Fire, Broken Records and Doves; less obviously, there are parallels to be drawn with similarly under-the-radar act Shady Bard, as both acts take aspects of folk and filter them through some dynamic post-rock sensibilities. But Spokes have been savvy enough to not dilute their material with too many definitive nods to influences, accidental or otherwise. So, while there are several moments where the listener will be temporarily transported to the work of another group, this takes nothing away from what’s a hugely satisfying experience.
We Can Make It Out takes the group vocals of a band like Danish symphonic-indie ensemble Efterklang and sets them against some busy percussion – the effect is pulse-raising, conveying drama aplenty. The slow-shifting Peace Racket also owes much to inspired indie arrangements from Scandinavia, conjuring comparisons with the off-kilter anthems penned by Mew. Torn Up in Praise could pass for a stripped-back Broken Social Scene, and the wonderfully sombre Happy Needs Colour will become a firm favourite of anyone particularly fond of melancholy most memorable.
Originality, then, isn’t really on the agenda for Spokes; but so excellent are these arrangements – in terms of feeling immediately familiar, without alienating through heard-it-before repetition – that the band’s failure to really find their own voice on this debut matters little. It’s a little too studied, maybe; a little show-off in places where some naivety might have proved a more endearing trait. But, despite so many elements that would, in another album, be terribly off-putting, Everyone I Ever Met is a fine first long-player. Think of it as a solid foundation to build something more unique from and it’s a triumph; or, better still, don’t think at all and let it tickle several sonic taste-buds in a single sitting. - BBC


An offshoot of Ninja Tunes, Counter Records has spent the last three years seeking to find the rock equivalent of its sister label’s mongrel roster - and the seven acts featured on ‘Strike!’ suggest that their goal has largely been achieved.

There’s no flagship act here, though Pop Levi is probably the best known of the stable. That said, great rewards surely await the angelic Spokes, while the snapping up of violin virtuoso John Matthias for his latest album is also an inspired decision.

Get 3 Tracks: The Death Set "Around The World", Spokes "Torn Up In Praise, The Heavy "Oh No! Not You Again!"

Dig deeper: Spokes, The Death Set, Pop Levi
- Clash Magazine


It’s incredibly easy to fall in love with an album when it takes in elements of slow-core, post-rock, shoe-gaze, folk and pop music so effortlessly… Absolutely gorgeous stuff and a real find… - Boomkat


Given the right push Spokes have the potential to breach the mainstream, the potential is there for all to see on this record. Memories of your first experience of Broken Social Scene or even Arcade Fire are sure to come flooding back, as the five-piece tap into the celebratory nature of both revered Canadian acts. Spokes are definite ‘ones to watch’, long may it continue. - Angry Ape


Discography

We Can Make It Out b/w Yppah Remix (2010) Radio support from various DJs on BBC 6 Music and BBC Radio 1, The Selector, Radio Ulster (Ireland), NME Radio, RTRfm (Australia), KEXP (Seattle)

Various Artists - Strike! - A Counter Records Sampler (2009, Counter Records)

People Like People Like You (EP) - 2009, Counter Records

We can make it out (Single) - 2010 ltd 7" vinyl + download - Counter/Ninja tune

3,4,5, (Single) - 2011, Counter/Ninja Tune

Everyone I Ever Met (Album) - 2011, Counter/Ninja Tune

Photos

Bio

Spokes are an alt-indie band based in Manchester, UK. Brought together in 2006 by a combination of boyhood friendships, family ties and a relentless love of recording and touring. Critics have praised them for their grand sound, buoyed by bittersweet joy and devastating lows. While sounding like a band with much more than 5 members they go from euphoric noise to moments of intense stillness. While drawing upon folk, shoegaze, slowcore and post-rock their music is always distilled down into something distinctly their own.

In 2007 they recorded their debut EP People Like People Like You which combined their off-kilter indie with more flowing structures influenced by post-rock. The release also lead to an appearance on the main stage at the Big Chill festival where People Like People Like You quickly sold out at the Rough Trade stall.

This frenzied activity eventually caught the attention of Ninja Tune and their indie imprint Counter Records, who re-released People Like People Like You in the spring of 2009. Having played at the End Of The Road festival in the summer Spokes then returned to their countryside residence somewhere in the North-East of England to finish work on their first album proper. This time introducing intricate vocal harmonies and more complex arrangements. Spokes' meticulous attention to detail and feel lends their songs a lush sound that has a clear respect for the classics, taking inspiration from artists such as Neil Young and Kate Bush.

The song 'Torn Up In Praise' was taken from early recordings for the album and included in the Counter Records sampler, it was warmly received by Clash magazine for it's grand take on indie-rock. Similarly, when NME chose to run a feature on the Ninja Tune label a Spokes demo entitled simply as 'Daisy' was included as a featured download alongside label-mates Jaga Jazzist and Andeya Triana.

'We Can Make It Out' was the first single to be lifted from the upcoming album 'Everyone I Ever Met', and it's unique choral vocals typify the energy of the record as a whole. It comes with a video by director Dan Lowe who himself has already achieved notoriety with a promo for Field Music which was nominated by RADAR for best budget video last year alongside luminaries such as Spike Jonze. The full album was released in 2011 on Counter/Ninja Tune.

In 2011, on the back of their album release, the band have played concerts and festivals in over 10 countries around europe.

Recently the band have parted company with their violinist and have been focussing on writing and recording new material, with a view to relaunching a new sound in 2012. WATCH THIS SPACE!