The Christophers
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The Christophers


Band Alternative Rock




"City Life article"

In pop culture terms, the rule always remains the same: the less you give, the more people seem to desire you. Examine the Manc music zeitgeist of 2010, and it’s an ethos many young musicians seem to have taken to heart.

From Hurt’s taut minimalism to Wu Lyf’s cloak-and-dagger live performances, if there’s one standout quality to today’s finest new Manc bands then it’s surely a sense of very studied ­elusiveness.

Take one glance at Manchester new wave/dance outfit The Christophers and you might be tempted to think the same of them. The trio’s sartorial uniform, a sombre mix of nondescript shirts, ties and nerdy spectacles might suggest something straight out of a top-secret government facility; all very clandestine, considered and arch.

In truth, however, the thinking behind The Christophers’ appearance is far simpler: there’s no thinking at all.

“It’s called the anonymous look,” deadpans the Manchester trio’s front-man, Chris Insley. “There’s no great fashion statement behind it. It’s more like anti-fashion. We’ve never really felt that comfortable as performers so the outfits are more a way of focussing attention on simply the music.”

Matters of appearance and aesthetics form a very large part of CityLife’s hour-long conversation with The Christophers.

Singer Chris, joined by drummer Jon Green and bass player Tom Sheals, make for a fidgety, outwardly diffident bunch, the very definition of the reluctant pop combo.

Leader of this unlikely crew is singer and principal songwriter Chris, a thirtysomething musician who formed The Christophers around two years ago.

The band’s search for anonymity eventually led them to sporting those trademark suits and ties, what the group call their work uniforms. Before they came to that image choice though, the trio briefly toyed with the idea of venturing down the Damon Albarn/Gorillaz path of adopting animated alter-egos.

“Unfortunately we can’t draw very well”, laughs drummer Jon. The idea of the Gorillaz is brilliant though. It’s just about putting the music out there, and not about the rock stars behind it and what they’ve got to say or what they look like.”

Formed just over two years ago, The Christophers (‘It’s actually not named after me, like some big ego thing. It just sounded like a good name’, says Chris), first began as a distraction from Chris’ regular musical day-job, gigging with local guitar acts such as Adom and The Clients.

However, it was the music he was writing in his spare time that got Chris most excited – more beat-driven, dance-hued compositions that owed much to his love of 70s new-wave, Kraftwerk and LCD Soundsystem.

Out of those songs emerged The Christophers, ostensibly a rock group dutifully working their heads around some hitherto unexplored dance music dynamics.

Despite accomplished musical CVs (Jon and Tom performed in proto-metallers Grand Volume, while Chris admits to playing in more bands than he could choose to name) there’s a highly engaging sense of discovery to The Christophers’ dance-rock approach. Firstly, there’s discovery, exploring their dancier sensibilities; plus the discovery for us, the intrepid listener, being led on a journey of unpredictable brilliance and idiosyncrasy.

“We are a band caught between two worlds,” considers Chris thoughtfully. “When I first started writing these songs, they were always leaning more towards dance culture. But for me, I’ve always been a band person;

“I prefer the dynamics of watching a live band with live instrumentation. You can’t beat that impact. I guess the perfect working model for this band would be someone like James Murphy from LCD Soundsystem – he makes really inventive, popular music which is loved by fans and critics, but no one ever talks about his image do they?”

This collision between dance and rock culture is undoubtedly something The Christophers benefit from. As performers, they might desperately crave anonymity, yet their music is anything but meaningless fodder for brain-mashed three-in-the-morning raving. It’s high-tempo dance-rock certainly, but a formula much closer to LCD Soundsystem than the world of Pendulum.

Tracks such as live favourite Sampler and hypnotic new single 7/11 bring to mind the electro-disco propulsion of The Rapture, the dancefloor futurism of LCD Soundsystem and the twitchy artfulness of Talking Heads.
But while most dance music simply provides a forgiving backdrop for emotional platitudes, the lyrics to Chris’ songs offer a more philosophical worldview.

“I find a lot of my subconscious mind comes out when I’m writing the lyrics,” explains Chris. “It’s like with the new single 7/11; that’s basically me asking myself if I went back in time, would I do things the same?

“But when it comes down to it, I don’t think I’d change very much. You can’t carry regrets. At the end of the day, everything I’ve done has led me to this point.”

So, what was that about the less you give, the more people desire you? As we’ve seen, The Christophers are not arch pop-strategist types. But while they keep up their anonymity, there can only be one clear conclusion: Manchester audiences just won’t be able to get enough of these invisible dance-rock heroes. - City Life

"Plans E.P review"

Earthy sequencers pummel on this debut release by Manchesters The Christophers. The dodgy name is the only negative on this showing though. Shades of Bowie, Early Ultravox, Hot Chip and Talking Heads spring to mind as the energy driven 'Plans' glides through the portal betwixt analogue synth lo-fi and sweaty underground new york ultradisco.

Alison is more angular and evoked more than a passing resemblance to Devo's Jocko Homo. In the best pssible way The Christophers conjure up visions of the early electronic movement, the earthy pioneering reverby growl of synths now sadly replaced by clean cut computer software and precision quantization, a fact maybe unintentionally explored in '186T' and the quest for the latest gizmo's.

It's all eminently danceable and it's no wonder they sold out Academy 1 in Manchester recently. In what is becoming a saturated genre their stripped down electro may be enough to raise them above the parapets.

Rating: 4/5 - Strummer

"Plans E.P Review"

For some reason, Chris Insley decided to record this EP in York; I’m not sure why (I think Mr Cat Burglar - more of which later – lives there, maybe in a castle !?), but the picturesque ancient town has inspired an electronic overhaul of The Christophers’ sound. There had always been a backing track to the bands pulsating, streetwise pop, but the grinding beats of “Plans” provides a real stomping rhythm, interrupted by some excitingly sharp guitar bursts. I don’t care how many times I hear “Alison” either – this is a pretty much a classic unsigned track on the Manchester circuit and one you’ll hear at any indie club being mixed in with the latest NME play listed must-hear hopeful. “186T” takes a similar formula of driven sequencing and the blow of heavy dance beats, with Insley layering in a voice that seems calmly melodic as well as strangely robotic. There are a couple of bonus remixes, but watch out for The Cat Burgler’s ( the pseudonym for producer Any Firth) mix of “Plans” – it sounds like New Order on acid, with a few cheeky references plumbed in for good measure – a welcome development in the Chris camp. - Manchester music


Plans E.P - 2008
Vertigo - 2009
7/11 - 2010
Whatitism - 2011
GetAway - 2011
Wisdom - 2012
Touch - 2012



Since late 2007 The Christophers have been creating electronic crossover music, combining the love of beats, vintage synths and machines with layered guitars, cutting bass and monotone vocals which hark to David Byrne, Lou Reed and James Murphy.
The U.K based band have had a succession of single releases which have received international airplay and more recently, the single 'Plans' has been featured on a new U.S film 'I DO'.
They also had their video for their single '7/11' featured on the Manchester music and culture documentary 'Manchester:Beyond Oasis'.
The bands influences stem from not only the music from the likes of Talking heads, XTC, Velvet Underground to Beck but from the very atmosphere these bands create...... the first time you went to CBGB's, the first time you saw Kraftwerk in a tiny Liverpool club, the first time you heard of stiff records..........that air of new, fresh and even familiar sounds.
The shifting sands of the music industry over the last decade has meant that digital empowerment & the democratization of music distribution is creating an internet full of white noise.

But those who care to seek out the Christophers will discover a veritable treasure trove of beats & loops & melody.

These musical components have been knitted together to create a cacophony of sound that instantly hits the aural sweet spot of the listener.